Influence of nitrogen fertiliser application and timing on greenhouse gas emissions from a lychee (Litchi chinensis) orchard in humid subtropical Australia

Rowlings, D.W., Grace, P.R., Scheer, C., & Kiese, R. (2013) Influence of nitrogen fertiliser application and timing on greenhouse gas emissions from a lychee (Litchi chinensis) orchard in humid subtropical Australia. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 179, pp. 168-178.

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Nitrous oxide emissions from intensive, fertilised agricultural systems have been identified as significant contributors to both Australia's and the global greenhouse gas (GHG) budget. This is expected to increase as rates of agriculture intensification and land use change accelerate to support population growth and food production. Limited data exists on N2O trace gas fluxes from subtropical or tropical tree cropping soils critical for the development of effective mitigation strategies.This study aimed to quantify GHG emissions over two consecutive years (March 2007 to March 2009) from a 30 year (lychee) orchard in the humid subtropical region of Australia. GHG fluxes were measured using a combination of high temporal resolution automated sampling and manually sampled chambers. No fertiliser was added to the plots during the 2007 measurement season. A split application of nitrogen fertiliser (urea) was added at the rate of 265kgNha-1 during the autumn and spring of 2008. Emissions of N2O were influenced by rainfall events and seasonal temperatures during 2007 and the fertilisation events in 2008. Annual N2O emissions from the lychee canopy increased from 1.7kgN2O-Nha-1yr-1 for 2007, to 7.6kgN2O-Nha-1yr-1 following fertiliser application in 2008. This represented an emission factor of 1.56%, corrected for background emissions. The timing of the split application was found to be critical to N2O emissions, with over twice as much lost following an application in spring (2.44%) compared to autumn (EF: 1.10%). This research suggests that avoiding fertiliser application during the hot and moist spring/summer period can reduce N2O losses without compromising yields.

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10 citations in Scopus
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10 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 63042
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: N2O, CO2, Emission factor, Fertiliser, Lychee, Subtropical/tropical, Tree crops/orchard
DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2013.08.013
ISSN: 0167-8809
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, [VOL 179, (2013)] DOI: 10.1021/jp406081v
Deposited On: 01 Oct 2013 06:31
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2014 04:32

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