Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 100, Issue 2, pp 215–226 | Cite as

A nitrogen cycle model in paddy fields to improve material flow analysis: the Day-Nhue River Basin case study

  • Thu Nga Do
  • Kei NishidaEmail author
Original Article


Material flow analysis (MFA) has been applied to assess the environmental impact of human activities on nutrient flows at the river basin scale. This paper reports the enhancement of the MFA model by incorporating a nitrogen cycle model for the paddy process in the Day-Nhue River Basin, Vietnam. Dynamic transport and transformation of nitrogen in the paddy soil were quantified using the results from previous studies. All nitrogen inputs to a paddy were considered. The primary nitrogen inputs were classified as nitrate, ammonium, and organic nitrogen. The modified MFA model was used to quantify nitrogen loads from paddy fields to atmosphere, surface water, and soil/groundwater using the classified nitrogen inputs and corresponding nitrogen loss rates. This restructured paddy process significantly influenced the estimated nitrogen loads to the environment. Nitrogen loads to the air and soil/groundwater increased by 18 and 64 % in spring fields and by 0 and 25 % in summer fields, respectively. Compared with MFA that did not apply the nitrogen cycle, nitrogen load to surface water remarkably increased; it was 39 times higher for spring fields and 29 times higher for summer fields. The estimated runoff loads for the two rice seasons were in the range of measured values reported in previous studies. As a result of these calculations, it was proposed that the application of chemical fertilizer could be reduced by 50 % in both seasons to control environmental impacts without impacting rice production. The inclusion of this detailed paddy nitrogen cycle significantly enhanced the quality of the MFA model.


Material flow analysis (MFA) Day-Nhue River Nitrogen Paddy Runoff load Loss rates 



We gratefully acknowledge Dr. Futaba Kazama for providing basic information on nitrogen cycles in field crops. We are grateful to Dr. Yasushi Sakamoto for his assessment of our research methodology. We would like to thank the local authorities in Vu Ban district, Nam Dinh Province. We would also like to thank the authorities in Chuong My district, Hanoi City for their cooperation in collecting data and interviewing local residents. This study was supported by the Global COE Program, “Evolution of Research and Education on Integrated River Basin Management in Asian Region”, from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology of Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Research Centre for River Basin Environment (ICRE)University of YamanashiKofuJapan

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