Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Islamic Azad University, Gorgan Branch, Gorgan, Iran

2 Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran

3 Department of Genetic Engineering and Biodafety, Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran, Karaj, Iran


Environmental assessment of the life cycle of crops in production systems is an accepted method for achieving agricultural sustainability. Moreover, the agricultural sector has a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Hence, improving agricultural operations is an appropriate way to mitigate the effects of climate change. Therefore, the aim of this research was the environmental assessment of different scenarios of the production of improved rice cultivars.
Material and methods:
After preliminary evaluation and consultation with rice specialists, 100 paddy fields were selected for semi-mechanized planting method and 100 paddy fields for traditional planting method in Sari region from 2015 to 2016. After recording the data, each planting method was converted into four planting systems based on agronomic management and input consumption, which formed a total of eight scenarios. Four scenarios of the semi-mechanized method were systems of low-input (SL), conservation (SCI), conventional (SCII) and high-input (SH). Four scenarios of the traditional method were systems of low-input (TL), conservation (TCI), conventional (TCII) and high-input (TH).
Results and discussion:
The results indicated that the average paddy yield in eight scenarios was 6418 kg.ha-1. The average input energy in eight scenarios was 28138.93 MJ.ha-1, which contained 45.44% renewable (biologic) energy and 54.56% non-renewable (industrial) energy. The highest input energy was observed in scenarios IV and VIII, which was related to the SH in both planting methods. The average output energy in eight scenarios was equal to 197076 MJ.ha-1. The highest output energy was obtained in scenarios III, IV, VII and VIII. The average energy productivity in the eight scenarios was equal to 0.23 kg.MJ-1 that the least amount was obtained in both planting methods and the other scenarios were on the same level. The average CO2 emissions in all eight scenarios were 1120.37 kg CO2.eq ha-1, which had the highest share related to seed, fuel, and machinery. In terms of global warming potential per unit area, scenario VIII was ranked first and scenario IV ranked second. The highest global warming potential per grain weight and GWP per input energy were achieved in scenarios I and V. The highest heavy metal emission into water and soil was observed in the SH and SCII, respectively. The highest net primary productivity (NPP) in production scenarios was related to SCII and SH, which was higher in the semi-mechanized method than the traditional method. In both planting methods, the most relative carbon inputs (Ri) were obtained in scenarios of the SH (I and V). With regard to input-output carbon and net carbon in eight scenarios, the average sustainability index was 4.66. The highest sustainability index was observed in scenario II (5.05), which was related to the conservation system. The scenarios V, I, III and VI were next ranked in terms of the sustainability index. In fact, the correct management of the paddy field in the SCI has led to a reduction in emissions of environmental pollutants.
According to the findings, SL and SCI were closer to sustainable development indicators in both methods. Furthermore, the economic efficiency of rice production was more important to farmers than environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. Hence, using the findings of this research can be very effective in increasing environmental sustainability and reducing the environmental impacts of chemical inputs and achieving agricultural sustainability.


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