Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 98, Issue 1, pp 27–40 | Cite as

Modeling nitrous oxide emissions from tile-drained winter wheat fields in Central France

  • Jiangxin GuEmail author
  • Denis Loustau
  • Catherine Hénault
  • Philippe Rochette
  • Pierre Cellier
  • Bernard Nicoullaud
  • Agnes Grossel
  • Guy Richard
Original Article


Modeling nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from agricultural soils is still a challenge due to influences of artificial management practices on the complex interactions between soil factors and microbial activities. The aims of this study were to evaluate the process-based DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC, version 9.5) model and modified non-linear empirical Nitrous Oxide Emission (NOEV2) model with weekly N2O flux measurements at eight sites cropped with winter wheat across a tile-drained landscape (around 30-km2) in Central France. Adjustments of the model default field capacity and wilting point and the optimum crop production were necessary for DNDC95 to better match soil water content and crop biomass yields, respectively. Multiple effects of varying soil water and nitrate contents on the fraction of N2O emitted through denitrification were added in NOEV2. DNDC95 and NOEV2 successfully predicted background N2O emissions and fertilizer-induced emission peaks at all sites during the experimental period but overestimated the daily fluxes on the sampling dates by 54 and 25 % on average, respectively. Cumulative emissions were slightly overestimated by DNDC95 (4 %) and underestimated by NOEV2 (15 %). The differences between evaluations of both models for daily and cumulative emissions indicate that low frequency measurements induced uncertainty in model validation. Nonetheless, our validations for soil water content with daily resolution suggest that DNDC95 well represented the effect of tile drainage on soil hydrology. The model overestimated soil ammonium and nitrate contents mostly due to incorrect nitrogen partitioning when urea ammonium nitrate solution was applied. The performance of the model would be improved if DNDC included the canopy interception and foliar nitrogen uptake when liquid fertilizer was sprayed over the crops.


Agricultural landscape Canopy interception Empirical model N2O reduction Process-based model Tile drainage 



This research was supported by the European Union (GHG-Europe No. 244122), the Region Centre and Fonds Européen de Développement Régional (FEDER) (SPATIOFLUX project), INRA (Département Environnement et Agronomie) and Tuck Founding (IMAGINE project).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiangxin Gu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  • Denis Loustau
    • 2
  • Catherine Hénault
    • 3
  • Philippe Rochette
    • 4
  • Pierre Cellier
    • 5
  • Bernard Nicoullaud
    • 3
  • Agnes Grossel
    • 3
  • Guy Richard
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Natural Resources and EnvironmentNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingP. R. China
  2. 2.UR 1263 EPHYSEINRAVillenave d’Ornon CedexFrance
  3. 3.UR 0272 Science du sol, Centre de recherche d’OrléansINRAOrléans Cedex 2France
  4. 4.Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaQuébecCanada
  5. 5.UMR 1091 Environnement et Grandes CulturesINRAThiverval-GrignonFrance
  6. 6.Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and the Agri-environment in Northwest ChinaMinistry of AgricultureYanglingP. R. China

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