Climate neutral in agricultural production system: a regional case from China


The concept of climate neutral has been introduced in the agricultural production system to re-examine the connotation of agricultural carbon footprint (CF). According to the integrated accounting framework of the agricultural CF we built, then selected a case from China, and carried out the climate economic effect quantitative analysis of the agricultural production system. The results indicated that CO2 emissions accounted the largest percentage of total carbon emissions by 52.05%, which was driven strongly by the application of agricultural fertilizers and consumption of diesel oil and CH4 emissions (ME) from cattle fed intestinal fermentation, and the driving force behind carbon sequestration was derived from the woody cash crops of carbon sequestration by vegetation and the input of residual carbon from straw returning to field and root stubble in the soil carbon pool. The carbon sink finally realized in the agricultural production system and the agricultural CF index reflected the surplus of 1.801 Mt C in the study area. In addition, we used the indicators of carbon density, carbon intensity, and carbon efficiency to judge the trade-offs of cost-benefit between the agroecosystem and economic system, so as to put forward some potential mitigation strategies for the study area. The mitigative effect of agricultural production system on climate neutral need to be further estimated in a more rigorous manner while controlling for more uncertainties in the future.

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Fig. 1
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Fig. 4

Data availability

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article.



Carbon footprint

CO2 :

Carbon dioxide

CO2e :

Carbon dioxide equivalent


CO2 emissions


Global warming potential


Greenhouse gases


GHG emissions

CH4 :



CH4 emissions


Nitrous oxide


N2O emissions


Soil organic carbon


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This work was supported by the Project funded by China Postdoctoral Science Foundation [grant number 2020 M671776].

Author information




Ru Chen: Conceptualization, investigation, data curation, methodology, formal analysis, writing—original draft preparation, funding acquisition, and supervision

Ruoyan Zhang: Writing—review and editing and investigation

Hongyun Han: Writing—review and editing and supervision

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Correspondence to Ru Chen.

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Chen, R., Zhang, R. & Han, H. Climate neutral in agricultural production system: a regional case from China. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2021).

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  • Carbon footprint
  • Carbon balance
  • Climate neutral
  • Agroecosystem
  • Climate-smart agriculture