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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Deep Drainage Lowers Methane and Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Rice Fields in a Semi-Arid Environment in Rwanda

Tuyishime, Olive; Stromgren, Monika; Joel, Abraham; Messing, Ingmar; Naramabuye, Francois Xavier; Wesstrom, Ingrid

Abstract

Few studies have explored greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from arable land in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and particularly from rice paddy fields, which can be a major source of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. This study examined the effect of drainage on CH4 and N2O emissions from rice fields in Rwanda under shallow drainage to 0.6 m, with the drain weir open four times per week, and deep drainage to 1.2 m with the weir open four times or two times per week. CH4 and N2O fluxes from the soil surface were measured on nine occasions during rice flowering and ripening, using a closed chamber method. Measured fluxes made only a minor contribution to total GHG emissions from rice fields. However, drainage depth had significant effects on CH4 emissions, with shallow drainage treatment giving significantly higher emissions (similar to 0.8 kg ha(-1) or similar to 26 kg CO2-equivalents ha(-1)) than deep drainage (0.0 kg) over the 44-day measurement period. No treatment effect was observed for N2O fluxes, which ranged from low uptake to low release, and were generally not significantly different from zero, probably due to low nitrogen (N) availability in soil resulting from low N fertilization rate (in the region). Overall, the results suggest that deep drainage can mitigate CH4 emissions compared with traditional shallow drainage, while not simultaneously increasing N2O emissions.

Keywords

greenhouse gas; CH4; N2O; paddy rice

Published in

Soil systems
2022, Volume: 6, number: 4, article number: 84