A modeling study on mitigation of N2O emissions and NO3 leaching at different agricultural sites across Europe using LandscapeDNDC

S Molina-Herrera, E Haas*, S Klatt, D Kraus, J Augustin, V Magliulo, T Tallec, E Ceschia, C Ammann, B Loubet, U Skiba, SK Jones, C Brummer, K Butterbach-Bahl, R Kiese

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    54 Citations (Scopus)


    The identification of site-specific agriculturalmanagement practices in order tomaximize yieldwhile minimizing environmental nitrogen losses remains in the center of environmental pollution research. Here, we used the biogeochemical model LandscapeDNDC to explore different agricultural practices with regard to their potential to reduce soil N2O emissions and NO3 leachingwhile maintaining yields. In a first step, the model was tested against observations of N2O emissions, NO3 leaching, soil micrometeorology as well as crop growth for eight European cropland and grassland sites. Across sites, LandscapeDNDC predicts very well mean N2O emissions (r2= 0.99) and simulates the magnitude and general temporal dynamics of soil inorganic nitrogen pools. For the assessment of site-specific mitigation potentials of environmental nitrogen losses a Monte Carlo optimization technique considering different agricultural management options (i.e., timing of planting, harvest and fertilization, amount of applied fertilizer as well as residue management)was used. The identified optimized field management practices reduce N2O emissions and NO3 leaching from croplands on average by 21% and 31%, respectively. Likewise, average reductions of 55% for N2O emissions and 16% for NO3 leaching are estimated for grasslands. For mitigating environmental loss - while maintaining yield levels - it was most important to reduce fertilizer application rates by in average 10%. Our analyses indicate that yield scaled N2O emissions and NO3 leaching indicate possible improvements of nitrogen use efficiencies in European farming systems.Moreover, the applied optimization approach can be used also in a prognostic way to predict optimal timings and fertilization options (rates and splitting) upon accurate weather forecasts combined with the knowledge of modeled soil nutrient availability and plant nitrogen demand. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)128 - 140
    Number of pages13
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Publication statusFirst published - 22 Feb 2016


    • Agricultural management
    • LandscapeDNDC
    • Mitigation
    • N2O emission
    • NO3 leaching
    • Optimization


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