Assessment of energy flow, carbon saving, and greenhouse gas emission in rice production scenarios

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.


  1. Acaroglu, M. and Aksoy, A.S., 2005. The cultivation and energy balance of Miscanthus_giganteus production in Turkey. Biomass Bioenergy. 29, 42–48.
  2. Akcaoz, H., Ozcatalbas, O. and Kizilay, H., 2009. Analysis of energy use for pomegranate production in Turkey. Journal of Food Agriculture and Environment. 7, 475-480.
  3. Alizadeh, Y., Kocheki, A. and Nasiri Mahallati, M., 2013. Assessment of greenhouse gases emission, carbon budgets, net primary production (NPP) and Net ecosystem production (NEP) in agroecosystems of Khorasan province. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Ferdowsi, Mashhad, Iran.
  4. Alizadeh, Y., Koocheki A. and Nasiri Mahallati, M., 2017. Study of carbon budget and CO2 emissions rate from soil surface in no tillage systems. Journal of Agroecology. 7 (2), 107-118.
  5. Alluvione, F., Fiorentino, N., Bertora, C., Zavattaro, L., Fagnano, M., Quaglietta Chiarandà, F. and Grignani, C., 2013. Short-term crop and soil response to C-friendly strategies in two contrasting environments. European Journal of Agronomy. 45, 114–123.
  6. Alvarez, R., Santanatoglia, O.J. and Garcia, R., 1995. Soil respiration and carbon inputs from crops in a wheat-soybean rotation under different tillage systems. Soil Use Managment. 11, 45-50.
  7. Argiro, V., Strapatsa, A., George, D., Nanos, A. and Tsatsarelis Constantinos, A., 2006. Energy flow for integrated apple production in Greece. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment. 116, 176–80.
  8. Beheshti Tabar, I., Keyhani, A. and Rafiee, S., 2010. Energy balance in Iran’s Agronomy. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 14, 849-855.
  9. Bolinder, M.A., Janzen, H.H., Gregorich, E.G., Angers, D.A. and Vanden Bygaart, A.J., 2007. An approach for estimating net primary productivity and annual carbon inputs to soil for common agricultural crops in Canada. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment. 118, 29–42.
  10. Dalgaard, T., Halberg, N. and Porter, J.R., 2001. A model for fossil energy use in Danish agriculture used to compare organic and conventional farming. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 87, 51-65.
  11. Dastan, S., Ghareyazie, B., Mortazavi, E. and Abdollahi, S., 2016a. The Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Transgenic and Non-transgenic Rice Cultivars. In Proceedings 2nd International and 14th National Iranian Crop Science Congress.. 30th Aug – 1st Sep, Rasht, Iran.
  12. Dastan, S., Ghareyazie, B., Mortazavi, E., Mohsenpour, M. and Abdollahi, S., 2017a. The Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Transgenic and Non-transgenic Rice Cultivars. In Proceedings 2nd International and 10th National Biotechnology Congress of Islamic Republic of Iran. 29th- 31th Aug, Karaj, Iran.
  13. Dastan, S., Ghareyazie, B., Soltani, A. and Omidi, M., 2016b. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Rice in Conventional, Intensive and Conservation systems. In Proceedings 2nd International and 14th National Iranian Crop Science Congress. Aug. 30th- 1st Sep, Rasht, Iran.
  14. Dastan, S., Noormohamadi, G., Madani, H. and Soltani, A., 2015a. Analysis of energy indices in rice production systems in the Neka region. Journal of Environmental Sciences. 13(1), 53-66. (In Persian with English abstract).
  15. Dastan, S., Soltani, A. and Alimagham, M., 2017b. Documenting the process of local rice cultivars production in two conventional and semi-mechanized planting methods in Mazandaran province. Cereal Research. 7(4), 485-502. (In Persian with English abstract).
  16. Dastan, S., Soltani, A., Noormohamadi, G. and Madani, H., 2015b. CO2 emission and global warming potential (GWP) of energy consumption in paddy field production systems. Journal of Agroecology 6(4), 823-835. (In Persian with English abstract).
  17. Dastan, S., Soltani, A., Noormohamadi, G., Madani, H. and Yadi, R., 2016c. Estimation of the carbon footprint and global warming potential in rice production systems. Journal of Environmental Sciences. 14(1), 19-22. (In Persian with English abstract).
  18. Deike, S., Pallutt, B. and Christen, O., 2008. Investigation on the energy efficiency of organic and integrated farming with specific emphasis on pesticide use intensity. European Journal of Agronomy. 28, 461-470.
  19. Demircan, V., Ekinci, K., Keener, H.M., Akbolat, D. and Ekinci, C., 2006. Energy and economic analysis of sweet cherry production in Turkey- a case study from Isparta province. Energy Conversion and Management. 47, 1761-1769.
  20. Dubey, A. and Lal, R., 2009. Carbon footprint and sustainability of agriculture production systems in Panjab, India, and Ohio, USA. Journal of Crop Improvement. 23, 332-350.
  21. Dyer, J.A. and Desjardins, R.L., 2003. Simulated farm fieldwork, energy consumption and related greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. Biosystems Engineering. 85 (4), 503-513.
  22. Dyer, J.A., Desjardins, R.L., 2006. Carbon dioxide emissions associated with the manufacturing of tractors and farm machinery in Canada. Biosystem Engineering. 93 (1), 107-118.
  23. Esengun, K., Gunduz, O. and Erdal, G., 2007. Input-output energy analysis in dry apricot production of Turkey. Energy Conversation and Management. 48, 592-598.
  24. Gan, Y., Liang, C., Hamel, C., Cutforth, H. and Wang, H., 2011. Strategies for reducing the carbon footprint of field crops for semiarid areas. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development. 31(4), 643-656.
  25. Hatirli, S.A., Ozkan, B. and Fert, C., 2006. Energy inputs and crop yield relationship in greenhouse tomato production. Renewable Energy Journal. 31, 427-438.
  26. Heijungs, R., Guinee, Â.J.B., Huppes, G., Lankreijer, R.M., Udo de Haes, H.A., Wegener Sleeswijk. A., 1992. Milieugerichte Leven Cycles aAnalyses van Production Prt 1 and 2. Leiden University Netherlands: Centre for Environmental Science (CML), [in Dutch].
  27. IPCC., 2007. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Climate change group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK 996 pp.
  28. Iqbal, T., 2007. Energy input and output for production of Boron rice in Bangladesh. Electronic Journal of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 7, 2717-2722.
  29. Iran's Ministry of Oil., 2008. Hydrocarbon balance of Iran in 2007. Tehran, Iran: Institute of International Energy Studies. Tehran, Iran 549 pp. (In Persian with English abstract).
  30. Kaltsas, A.M., Mamolos, A.P., Tsatsarelis, C.A., Nanos, G.D. and Kalburtji, K.L., 2007. Energy budget in organic and conventional olive groves. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 122(2), 243-251.
  31. Khan, S., Khan, M.A. and Latif, N., 2010. Energy requirement and economic analysis of wheat, rice and barley production in Australia. Soil and Environment. 29(1), 61-68.
  32. Lal, R., 2004. Carbon emissions from farm operations. Environment International. 30, 981-990.
  33. Malmuti, M., West, J.S., Watts, J., Gladders, P. and Fitt, B.D.L., 2009. Controlling crop disease contributes to both food security and climate change mitigation. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. 7(3),189-202.
  34. Ozkan, B., Akcaoz, H. and Fert, C., 2004. Energy input–output analysis in Turkish agriculture. Renew. Energy. 29, 39-51.
  35. Ozkan, B., Fert, C. and Karadeniz, C.F., 2007. Energy and cost analysis for greenhouse and open-field grape production. Energy. 32, 1500-1504.
  36. Pathak, H. and Wassmann, R., 2007. Introducing greenhouse gas mitigation as a development objective in rice-based agriculture: I. Generation of technical coefficients. Agricultural Systems. 94, 807-825.
  37. Pazouki, T.M., Ajam Noroui, H., Ghanbari Malidareh, A., Dadashi, M.R. and Dastan, S., 2017a. Energy and CO2 emission assessment of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production scenarios in central areas of Mazandaran province, Iran. Applied Ecology and Environmental Research. 15(4), 143-161.
  38. Pazouki, T.M., Ajam Noroui, H., Ghanbari Malidareh, A., Dadashi, M.R. and Dastan, S., 2017b. Evaluation of Energy Balance and CO2 Emissions of Wheat Production in Central Areas of Mazandaran Province. Journal of Agroecology. 9(4), DOI: 10.22067/jag.v9i4.54771. (In Persian with English abstract).
  39. Peyman, M.H., Rouhi, R. and Alizadeh, M.R., 2005. Determine of energy use in two semi-mechanized and conventional methods for rice production (case study in Guilan province). Journal of Agricultural and Engineering Research. 6(22), 67-80. (In Persian with English abstract).
  40. Rajabi, M.H., Soltani, A., Zeinali, E. and Soltani, E., 2012. Evaluation of energy use in wheat production in Gorgan. Journal of Plant Production. 19(3), 143-171. (In Persian with English abstract).
  41. Robertson, G.P., Paul, E.A. and Harwood, R.R., 2000. Greenhouse gases in intensive agriculture: contributions of individual gases to the radiative forcing of the atmosphere. Science. 289, 1922-1925.
  42. SimaPro., 2011. Software and Database Manual. Pre Consultants BV, Amersfoort, The Netherlands.
  43. Smith, P., Martino, D., Cai, Z., Gwary, D., Janzen, H., Kumar, P., Mccarl, B., Ogle, S., O’Mar, F., Rice, C., Scholes, B., Sirotenko, O., Howden, M., McAllister, T., Pan, G., Romanenkov, V., Schneider, U. and Towprayoon, S., 2007. Policy and technological constraints to implementation of greenhouse gas mitigation options in agriculture. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 118, 6-28.
  44. Soltani, A., Rajabi, M.H., Zeinali, E. and Soltani, E., 2013. Energy inputs and greenhouse gases emissions in wheat production in Gorgan, Iran. Energy. 50, 54-61.
  45. Tzilivakis, J., Warner, D.J., May, M., Lewis, K.A. and Jaggard, K., 2005. An assessment of the energy inputs and greenhouse gas emission in sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) production in the UK. Agricultural Systems. 85, 101-119.
  46. Williams, A.G., Audsley, E. and Sandars, D.L., 2006. Determining the Environmental Burdens and Resource Use in the Production of Agricultural and Horticultural Commodities. Defra Project Report IS0205. Cranfield University, DEFRA, Bedford, UK.
  47. Yousefi, M., Mahdavi Damghani, A.M. and Khoramivafa, M. 2014. Energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and assessment of sustainability index in corn agroecosystems of Iran. Science of the Total Environment. 493, 330–335.