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Identifying effective agricultural management practices for climate change adaptation and mitigation: A win-win strategy in south-eastern Australia


He, Q and Liu, DL and Wang, B and Li, L and Cowie, A and Simmons, A and Zhou, H and Tian, Q and Li, S and Li, Y and Liu, K and Yan, H and Harrison, MT and Feng, P and Waters, C and Li, GD and de Voil, P and Yu, Q, Identifying effective agricultural management practices for climate change adaptation and mitigation: A win-win strategy in south-eastern Australia, Agricultural Systems pp. 1-42. ISSN 0308-521X (In Press) [Refereed Article]


CONTEXT: Farming systems face the dual pressures of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to mitigate climate change and safeguarding food security to adapt to climate change. Building soil organic carbon (SOC) is a key strategy for climate change mitigation and adaptation. However, practices that increase SOC may also increase nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, and impact crop yields and on-farm income. A comprehensive assessment of the effects of different management practices on trade-offs between GHG emissions and crop profitability under climate change is needed.

OBJECTIVE: In this study, we aimed to: (1) analyze the trends of SOC and N2O emissions, and ascertain whether the croplands of the study region are net GHG sources or sinks under climate change; (2) quantify the GHG abatement on a gross margin basis; (3) identify the most effective management practices that could achieve a win-win strategy; and (4) investigate sources of uncertainty in estimates of GHG emissions and gross margins under climate change.

METHODS: A biophysical model (APSIM) was used to simulate the effects of three crop residue retention rates (10%, 50% and 100%), and six representative inter-annual crop rotations (wheat-canola, wheat-field pea-wheat-canola, wheat-field pea-wheat-oats, wheat-wheat-barley, wheat-wheat-canola, and wheat-wheat-oats) under two Shared Socio-economic Pathways scenarios (SSP245 and SSP585) using climate projections from 27 global climate models. GHG emissions and gross margins from 1961 to 2092 were assessed across 204 study sites in southeastern Australia.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Our results showed that residue retention can turn the soil from a carbon source (10% retention, 304~450 kg CO2-eq ha-1 yr-1) to a carbon sink (100% retention, -269~-57 kg CO2-eq ha-1 yr-1), and the potential of carbon sequestration was partly offset by concomitantly increased N2O emissions. The wheat-wheat-canola rotation with full residue retention was shown to be a win-win solution with both large potential of GHG abatement and high gross margin compared with other rotations. Spatial analysis showed that the eastern part of the study region had higher gross margins while the western part had greater GHG emission reduction potentials, with different environmental and economic outcomes in this study region. Although the climate change led to increased GHG emissions and decreased yields for some crops, these adverse effects can be overweighed by the advantages from full residue retention.

SIGNIFICANCE: This study emphasizes the significant potential for agronomic management to maximize gross margin and remove GHG emissions under climate change in southeast Australia. Results from this study could be used by farmers and policymakers to mitigate climate change without compromising agroecosystem economic benefits.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:carbon sequestration, nitrous oxide emission, gross margin, crop rotation, residue retention, climate change, climate crisis, mitigation, adaptation, greenhouse gas, profit, economics, soil carbon, straw, stubble, retention, carbon dioxide, agronomy,
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Agriculture, land and farm management
Research Field:Sustainable agricultural development
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Mitigation of climate change
Objective Field:Management of greenhouse gas emissions from plant production
UTAS Author:Liu, K (Dr Ke Liu)
UTAS Author:Harrison, MT (Associate Professor Matthew Harrison)
ID Code:153677
Year Published:In Press
Deposited By:TIA - Research Institute
Deposited On:2022-10-01
Last Modified:2022-12-13
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