Plant and Soil

, Volume 370, Issue 1–2, pp 223–233 | Cite as

Annual nitrous oxide emissions from open-air and greenhouse vegetable cropping systems in China

  • Qiaohui Liu
  • Yanmei Qin
  • Jianwen Zou
  • Yanqin Guo
  • Zhiliang Gao
Regular Article



A field experiment was conducted to quantify annual nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes from control and fertilized plots under open-air and greenhouse vegetable cropping systems in southeast China. We compiled the reported global field annual N2O flux measurements to estimate the emission factor of N fertilizer for N2O and its background emissions from vegetable fields.


Fluxes of N2O were measured using static chamber-GC techniques over the 2010–2011 annual cycle with multiple cropping seasons.


The mean annual N2O fluxes from the controls were 46.1 ± 2.3 μg N2O-N m−2 hr−1 and 68.3 ± 4.1 μg N2O-N m−2 hr−1 in the open-air and greenhouse vegetable systems, respectively. For the plots receiving 900 kg N ha−1, annual N2O emissions averaged 90.6 ± 8.9 μg N2O-N m−2 hr−1 and 106.4 ± 6.6 μg N2O-N m−2 hr−1 in the open-air and greenhouse vegetable systems, respectively. By pooling published field N2O flux measurements taken over or close to a full year, the N2O emission factor for N fertilizer averaged 0.63 ± 0.09 %, with a background emission of 2.67 ± 0.80 kg N2O-N ha−1 in Chinese vegetable fields. Annual N2O emissions from Chinese vegetable systems were estimated to be 84.7 Gg N2O-N yr−1, consisting of 72.5 Gg N2O-N yr−1 and 12.2 Gg N2O-N yr−1 in the open-air and greenhouse vegetable systems, respectively.


While N2O emissions from the greenhouse vegetable cropping system tended to be slightly higher compared to the open-air system in our experiment, the synthesis of literature data suggests that N2O emissions would be greater at low N-rates but smaller at high N-rates in greenhouse systems than in open-air vegetable cropping systems. The estimates of this study suggest that vegetable cropping systems covering 11.4 % in national total cropping area, contributed 21–25 % to the total N2O emission from Chinese croplands.


Background emission Emission factor Greenhouse cropping system N2Vegetable 



This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2012CB417102), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC-41171194, 41225003), the 111 project (B12009) and the PADA. We greatly appreciate Dr. Evan Siemann at Rice University for improving this presentation.

Supplementary material

11104_2013_1622_MOESM1_ESM.doc (198 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 198 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qiaohui Liu
    • 1
  • Yanmei Qin
    • 1
  • Jianwen Zou
    • 1
  • Yanqin Guo
    • 1
  • Zhiliang Gao
    • 1
  1. 1.Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Low Carbon Agriculture and GHGs Mitigation, College of Resources & Environmental SciencesNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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