Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 103, Issue 1, pp 115–129 | Cite as

Groundnut cultivation in semi-arid peninsular India for yield scaled nitrous oxide emission reduction

  • K. KriteeEmail author
  • Drishya Nair
  • Rakesh Tiwari
  • Joseph Rudek
  • Richie Ahuja
  • Tapan Adhya
  • Terrance Loecke
  • Steven Hamburg
  • Filip Tetaert
  • Shalini Reddy
  • Obulapathi Dava
Original Article


Studies reporting agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emission data from tropical upland crops or the climate adaptation and mitigation potential of farming practices that involve nutrient management and/or organic farming are very limited in number. We developed alternate groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) farming practices for rainfed kharif (South-west monsoon) and irrigated rabi (winter) cropping seasons for agro-ecological region 3.0 in semi-arid peninsular India; and compared their yields, farm income as well as nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions with current baseline practices among regional small scale farm-holders. At the study farm, alternate practices including application of locally prepared fermented manures along with a 40–60 % reduction in application of total N increased pod yield by 50 and 35 % and net profit by ~120 and ~70 % in a drought-hit kharif and an irrigated rabi, respectively. High resolution field measurements of N2O flux indicate that the seasonal emission factors for groundnut cultivation using baseline and alternate practices were 1.7–2.0 % of applied N. Thus, the average IPCC and Indian national emissions factors of 1 and 0.58 %, respectively, underestimate GHG emissions during groundnut cultivation. Crucially, alternate practices led to (1) a reduction of 0.13 ± 0.07 and 0.24 ± 0.1 tCO2e ha−1 season−1 through decreases in direct N2O emissions along with a 50 % reduction in GHG emission intensity (per unit yield) in both seasons; (2) a concomitant average reduction of ~0.1 and 0.24 tCO2e ha−1 season−1 through decreased demand for manufactured fertilizers in kharif and rabi seasons, respectively. The positive implications for climate resilience, mitigation and ecosystem services are discussed.


Groundnut Semi-arid Climate smart farming Nitrous oxide Agricultural climate mitigation Drought resilience Emission factors 



This work would have been impossible without the constant efforts and cooperation of Nagendra Reddy (groundnut farmer near our field experiment hub). We would like to thank Dr. Malla Reddy (Director, Accion Fraterna Ecology Center), Dr. Yellamanda Reddy (Head, Sustainable Agriculture, AF), C.K. Ganguly (Director, Timbaktu Collective), Shiekhshah Vali (Coordinator, AF) and Dr. S. Padmanabha (Fair Climate Network) and Tal Lee Anderman for their critical comments, support and advice. This work was supported by Environmental Defense Fund and ICCO Cooperation.

Supplementary material

10705_2015_9725_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (765 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 766 kb)
10705_2015_9725_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (91 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (xlsx 91kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Kritee
    • 1
    Email author
  • Drishya Nair
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rakesh Tiwari
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joseph Rudek
    • 1
  • Richie Ahuja
    • 1
  • Tapan Adhya
    • 1
  • Terrance Loecke
    • 3
  • Steven Hamburg
    • 1
  • Filip Tetaert
    • 2
  • Shalini Reddy
    • 4
  • Obulapathi Dava
    • 4
  1. 1.Environmental Defense FundBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Fair Climate NetworkBangaloreIndia
  3. 3.University of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  4. 4.Accion Fraterna (AF) Ecology CenterAnantapurIndia

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