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Environmental Science: Targeted fertilizer management may reduce ammonia emissions | Nature | Nature wallet

Research press release


nature

February 1, 2024

Detailed estimates of ammonia emissions from arable land for rice, wheat and corn were calculated using machine learning methods, a study reported this week.naturePublished in Obtaining this data set made it possible to evaluate the potential for reducing ammonia emissions by arable land. Such an evaluation showed that effective fertilizer management in growing these crops could reduce ammonia emissions to the atmosphere from agriculture by up to 38%.


Atmospheric ammonia is a serious environmental pollutant that affects not only the global ecosystem but also human health. Approximately 51% to 60% of anthropogenic ammonia emissions result from crop cultivation, and about half of these emissions are associated with major staple crops such as rice, wheat, and corn. However, measuring the ammonia emissions reduction potential associated with a particular cropland with high precision is difficult and relies on detailed data such as nitrogen inputs and regional emission factors.


Now, Yi Zheng and his colleagues are using machine learning methods to predict the effects of tillage on rice, wheat, and corn around the world based on variables such as climate, soil characteristics, crop type, irrigated agriculture, tillage, and fertilization. Similar to. Cheng et al created a dataset of ammonia emissions from more than 2,700 observations obtained through a systematic review of the published literature, fed the data into this model, and used this model to estimate that global ammonia emissions reached 4.3 teragrams (4.3 billion kilograms). ) in 2019. Cheng et al also calculated that spatially optimizing fertilizer management according to this model could reduce ammonia emissions from rice, wheat, and corn by 38%. The improvement strategy was to apply high-efficiency fertilizers deep into the soil during the growing season using conventional tillage methods.

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Cheng and colleagues found that growing rice could account for 47% of the total potential reduction in ammonia emissions, while growing corn and wheat could account for 27% and 26%, respectively, under a scenario where fertilizer management is implemented. According to calculations by Cheng et al., if fertilizer management strategies are not implemented, ammonia emissions in 2100 will increase by 4.6% to 15.8% (compared to 2018), depending on future greenhouse gas emissions. There is a possibility.

doi:10.1038/s41586-024-07020-z

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