Methane and nitrous oxide emissions from flooded rice fields as affected by water and straw management between rice crops

Abstract: Rice fields in the tropics can vary in water regime before production of rice on flooded soil, but relatively little is known about the effects of soil water regime and crop residue management between rice crops (i.e., fallow period) on methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions during a subsequent rice crop. We measured CH4 and N2O emissions during two cropping seasons in the Philippines from field plots exposed to contrasting treatments during the fallow before land preparation for rice cultivation. The fallow treatments were continuous soil flooding (flooded), soil drying with exclusion of rainfall (dry), soil drying with dry tillage (dry + tillage), and a control with soil drying and wetting from rainfall (dry and wet). All plots were subdivided into removal of all aboveground rice residues from the previous crop (without residue) and retention of standing biomass after harvest of the previous rice crop (with residue). Emitted gas was collected weekly using chambers. Fallow treatments greatly influenced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during rice growth. Methane emissions and global warming potential (GWP) in both cropping seasons were highest following the flooded fallow, intermediate following the dry and wet fallow, and lowest following dry and dry + tillage fallows. The GWP was higher with than without residue across all fallow treatments. Nitrous oxide emissions were small during the season, and CH4 emissions contributed more than 90% of the cumulative GWP during the rice crop regardless of fallow and residue management. Soil drying between rice crops in the tropics can reduce CH4 emissions and GWP during the subsequent rice crop.