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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 109 No. 4, p. 1163-1182
     
    Received: Mar 18, 2016
    Accepted: Feb 25, 2017
    Published: May 5, 2017


    * Corresponding author(s): amod_wtcer@yahoo.com
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doi:10.2134/agronj2016.03.0162

How the System of Rice Intensification Can Contribute to Climate-Smart Agriculture

  1. Amod K. Thakur *a and
  2. Norman T. Uphoffb
  1. a ICAR-Indian Institute of Water Management, Chandrasekharpur, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 751023, India
    b B75 Mann Library, SRI International Network and Resources Center (SRI-Rice), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
Core Ideas:
  • System of rice intensification increases crop productivity with lesser inputs.
  • System of rice intensification yields more productive and robust rice phenotypes from given plant genotypes.
  • System of rice intensification crops are tolerant to biotic/abiotic stresses and it reduces GHGs from rice fields.
  • System of rice intensification enables farmers to adapt to and mitigate climate change.
  • This paper reviews how and why SRI can be considered as climate-smart agriculture.

Abstract

Although there has been controversy over some of the high yields reported with the System of Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Intensification (SRI), an agroecological crop management system developed in Madagascar, substantial increases in average rice yields have been reported from more than 50 countries when these methods are used, not even necessarily fully. Most attention thus far has focused on yield and little on whether or how SRI methods can help farmers adapt to and buffer the adverse stresses of climate change as well as reduce their rice paddies’ contribution to global warming. According to FAO criteria, achieving all three impacts would qualify SRI as “climate-smart agriculture” (CSA).This paper reviews how making SRI modifications in agronomic practices can elicit plant phenotypes from given rice genotypes that are more robust and adaptive as well as more productive. This effect appears to result from SRI’s inducing larger, healthier root systems and enhancing beneficial soil biota. These effects are associated with improvements in a variety of morphological and physiological characteristics in rice plants. Cross-national meta-analysis has documented reductions in crop water requirements and increased water productivity under SRI management. These methods are also seen to contribute to greater drought-tolerance, resistance to storm damage, cold-temperature hardiness, shortened crop cycles that reduce crops’ exposure to biotic and abiotic stresses, less susceptibility to insect pest and disease damage, and diminished net emissions of greenhouse gases from paddy fields. The efficacy of SRI management methods is increasingly accepted by governments, donor agencies and farmers, but more remains to be researched and evaluated.

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