Ecological Research

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 441–454 | Cite as

Simulation of N2O emissions and nitrate leaching from plastic mulch radish cultivation with LandscapeDNDC

  • Youngsun Kim
  • Sina Berger
  • Janine Kettering
  • John Tenhunen
  • Edwin Haas
  • Ralf KieseEmail author
Original Article


Radish is one of the major dry field crops in Asia commonly grown with plastic mulch and high rates of N fertilization, and potentially harming the environment due to N2O emissions and nitrate leaching. Despite the widespread use of plastic mulch, biogeochemical models so far do not yet consider impacts of mulch on soil environmental conditions and biogeochemistry. In this study, we adapted and successfully tested the LandscapeDNDC model against field data by simulating crop growth, C and N turnover and associated N2O emissions as well as nitrate leaching for radish cultivation with plastic mulch and in conjunction with different rates of N fertilization (465–765 kg N ha−1 year−1). Due to the sandy soil texture and monsoon climate, nitrate leaching with rates up to 350 kg N ha−1 year−1 was the dominant reason for overall low nitrogen use efficiency (32–43 %). Direct or indirect N2O emissions (calculated from simulated nitrate leaching rates and IPCC EFind = 0.0075) ranged between 2 and 3 kg N ha−1 year−1, thus contributing an equal amount to total field emissions of about 5 kg N ha−1 year−1. Based on our results, emission factors for direct N2O emissions ranged between 0.004 and 0.005. These values are only half of the IPCC default value (0.01), demonstrating the need of biogeochemical models for developing site and/or region specific EFs. Simulation results also revealed that changes in agricultural management by applying the fertilizer only to the rows would be an efficient mitigation strategy, effectively decreasing field nitrate leaching and N2O emissions by 50–60 %.


Biogeochemical modeling LandscapeDNDC N2Nitrate leaching Plastic mulch 



This research was carried out as a part of International Research Training Group TERRECO (GRK 1565/1) project supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) in Germany and the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) in Republic of Korea. Furthermore, funding was provided via FACCE MACSUR—Modelling European Agriculture with Climate Change for Food Security, a FACCE JPI knowledge hub. The authors also thank David Kraus, Alexander Froehlich and Steffen Klatt for giving technical support for LandscapeDNDC simulations. Invaluable help was provided by Bora Lee and Steve Lindner along with the TERRECO team who carried out field site installation and biomass harvests.


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Youngsun Kim
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sina Berger
    • 3
  • Janine Kettering
    • 4
  • John Tenhunen
    • 2
  • Edwin Haas
    • 1
  • Ralf Kiese
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU)Garmisch-PartenkirchenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Plant EcologyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  3. 3.BayCEER-Laboratory of Isotope BiogeochemistryUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  4. 4.Department of Agroecosystem ResearchUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany

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