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Effect of fertilization on nitrogen losses through surface runoffs in Chinese farmlands: A meta-analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Evangelos Petropoulos



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Elsevier B.V., 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


© 2021 Elsevier B.V.Surface runoff is the main cause of farmland nitrogen (N) losses in plain areas, which adversely affect water quality. The impact of fertilization on N runoff loss often varies. A meta-analysis was performed using 245 observations from 31 studies in China, to estimate the response of N loss in both paddy and upland fields subjected to different fertilization strategies, and investigate the link between N runoffs, soil properties, as well as precipitation in the planting season. The results showed that compared to the control (without fertilization), N losses subjected to fertilization increased from 3.31 kg/ha to 10.03 kg/ha and from 3.00 kg/ha to 11.24 kg/ha in paddy and upland fields respectively. Importantly, paddy N loss was significantly correlated with fertilizer type and N application rate (predictors); in upland fields N application rate and seasonal precipitation were the main driving factors. For the N application rate, N loss increased with increase in rates for both paddies and upland fields. Moreover, the N loss from upland fields increased with the precipitation during planting season. Between the three fertilizers used in paddies, the increase in loss of CRF (controlled release fertilizer) or OF (organic fertilizer) was lower than that of CF (inorganic chemical fertilizer) with the lowest value in CRF. Subset analysis showed that the effect of CRF and OF in paddies was not affected by the predictors, revealing the steadily controlling property of CRF and OF in paddies. Also, all the predictors had an insignificant impact to N loss risk in paddies during the high application rate. Overall, the results confirm the importance of N dosage in N runoff loss from farmland. Fertilizer type is a key consideration for N loss control in paddies, while the seasonal precipitation should not be ignored in upland fields.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hou P, Jiang Y, Yan L, Petropoulos E, Wang J, Xue L, Yang L, Chen D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Science of the Total Environment

Year: 2021

Volume: 793

Print publication date: 01/11/2021

Online publication date: 19/06/2021

Acceptance date: 16/05/2021

Date deposited: 29/07/2021

ISSN (print): 0048-9697

ISSN (electronic): 1879-1026

Publisher: Elsevier B.V.


DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.148554


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