Resources Science ›› 2017, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (4): 713-722.doi: 10.18402/resci.2017.04.12

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Assessment of the carbon footprint of rice production in China

Xing WANG1(), Xin ZHAO1, Yuqiao WANG1, Jianfu XUE2, Hailin ZHANG1()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Farming System,Ministry of Agriculture;College of Agronomy and Biotechnology,China Agricultural University,Beijing 100193,China
    2. College of Agriculture,Shanxi Agricultural University,Taigu 030801,China
  • Received:2016-08-24 Revised:2016-12-27 Online:2017-04-30 Published:2017-04-25


Global warming has raised public concern and reducing anthropogenic carbon emissions has become a heated issue. Agriculture plays an important role in greenhouse gas (GHG)emission and offsetting. Rice is one of China’s three major cereal crops and assessing the carbon footprint (CF)of rice production is a vital component of low-carbon goal in China’s agriculture. Data from China Agricultural Statistics from 2004 to 2014 were collected for estimating CF and its components in rice production. The results showed that GHG emissions and CF per area were observed an annual average increase rate of 2.12 billionkgCO2-eq,32.58kgCO2-eq/ha respectively,and annual reduction of CF per yield is -2.82kgCO2-eq/t. Results varied among provinces. For example,the average CF per unit area of rice was the highest in Jiangsu at 7411.91kgCO2-eq/ha and the least in Heilongjiang province at 4305.87kgCO2-eq/ha;average CF per unit of production was highest in Hainan at 2.36 times higher than Jilin Province (the lowest one). In the double cropping rice area of southern China(Guangxi,Guangdong and Fujian)and the double cropping rice area of central China (Jiangsu,Hunan and Jiangxi),the carbon footprints are higher than the national average. CH4 emissions were the largest component of CF,accounting for 85.05% of the total carbon emission following by agricultural inputs for 14.95%,and fertilizer inputs for 10.25% of the agricultural inputs. Strategies to reduce GHGs emissions and improve carbon efficiency in rice production depends on a combination of field operations such as intermittent irrigation,suitable usage of fertilization and other agricultural inputs,and improved mechanical efficiency.

Key words: climate change, carbon emission, rice production, life cycle assessment, China