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Book: Impact of Carbon Dioxide, Trace Gases, and Climate Change on Global Agriculture
Published by: American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America



  1.  p. 27-43
    ASA Special Publication 53.
    Impact of Carbon Dioxide, Trace Gases, and Climate Change on Global Agriculture

    Bruce A. Kimball (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-319-8


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Greenhouse Gas Emissions Related to Agriculture and Land-Use Practices1

  1. Lauretta M. Burke and
  2. Daniel A. Lashof
  1. The Bruce Company, Washington, DC
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC


The effects of increasing trace gas concentrations and concomitant climate change on agriculture are likely to be substantial. With cropland and pasture now covering > 30% of the Earth's land surface, agricultural activity is also a significant factor in producing the observed increases in the greenhouse gases CO2, CH4, and N2O. Land clearing for agriculture and other purposes is responsible for 10 to 30% of total net CO2 emissions; the rest is due to fossil fuel combustion. In addition, intentional burning of agricultural wastes, grasslands, and forests makes a significant contribution to global emissions of CO, CH4, NOX, and N2O. Methane emissions from anaerobic respiration in rice (Oryza sativa L.) paddies and domestic animal rumens account for 30 to 50% of the global total, making agriculture the dominant anthropogenic source of this gas. The amount of N2O emitted as a result of N fertilizer applications is highly uncertain, but may be on the order of 10% of total N2O emissions. Future agricultural greenhouse gas emissions will be affected by population growth, economic development, and agricultural practices. Greenhouse gas emissions are likely to increase substantially in the future unless steps are taken to control them. Investigating potential approaches to reducing these emissions while expanding production presents a major challenge to the agricultural research community.

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Copyright © 1990. Copyright © 1990 by the American Society of Agronomy, Inc., Crop Science Society of America, Inc., Soil Science Society of America, Inc., 5585 Guilford Rd., Madison, WI 53711 USA