Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 207–228 | Cite as

N2O and NO emission from agricultural fields and soils under natural vegetation: summarizing available measurement data and modeling of global annual emissions

  • Elke Stehfest
  • Lex Bouwman


The number of published N2O and NO emissions measurements is increasing steadily, providing additional information about driving factors of these emissions and allowing an improvement of statistical N-emission models. We summarized information from 1008 N2O and 189 NO emission measurements for agricultural fields, and 207 N2O and 210 NO measurements for soils under natural vegetation. The factors that significantly influence agricultural N2O emissions were N application rate, crop type, fertilizer type, soil organic C content, soil pH and texture, and those for NO emissions include N application rate, soil N content and climate. Compared to an earlier analysis the 20% increase in the number of N2O measurements for agriculture did not yield more insight or reduced uncertainty, because the representation of environmental and management conditions in agro-ecosystems did not improve, while for NO emissions the additional measurements in agricultural systems did yield a considerable improvement. N2O emissions from soils under natural vegetation are significantly influenced by vegetation type, soil organic C content, soil pH, bulk density and drainage, while vegetation type and soil C content are major factors for NO emissions. Statistical models of these factors were used to calculate global annual emissions from fertilized cropland (3.3 Tg N2O-N and 1.4 Tg NO-N) and grassland (0.8 Tg N2O-N and 0.4 Tg NO-N). Global emissions were not calculated for soils under natural vegetation due to lack of data for many vegetation types.


Agriculture Animal manure Crop Emission Fertilizer Model Nitrogen Nitric oxide Nitrous oxide Vegetation 


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Financial support was granted by the International Max Planck School for Earth Systems Modeling (Hamburg, Germany). The work of AFB is part of the project Integrated Terrestrial Modeling (S/550005/01/DD) of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. We thank Leo Boumans for his advice on the statistical analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Environmental Systems ResearchUniversity of KasselKasselGermany
  2. 2.Netherlands Environmental Assessment AgencyBilthovenThe Netherlands

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