Rice paddy soils are a quantitatively important carbon store according to a global synthesis

Rice paddies account for ~9% or the world’s cropland area and are characterized by environmental conditions promoting soil organic carbon storage, methane emissions and to a lesser extent nitrous oxide emissions. Here, we synthesize data from 612 sites across 51 countries to estimate global carbon stocks in paddy soils and determine the main factors affecting paddy soil carbon storage. Paddy soils (0–100 cm) contain 18 Pg carbon worldwide. Paddy soil carbon stocks decrease with increasing mean annual temperature and soil pH, whereas mean annual precipitation and clay content had minor impacts. Meta-analysis shows that paddy soil carbon stocks can be increased through several management practices. However, greenhouse gas mitigation through paddy soil carbon storage is generally outweighed by increases in methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Our results emphasize the key role of paddies in the global carbon cycle, and the importance of paddy management in minimizing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
© The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Communications Earth & Environment, 2021, available online at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-021-00229-0 . Keywords: agroecology; biogeochemistry; carbon cycle.
Liu, Y., Ge, T., van Groenigen, K.J. et al. Rice paddy soils are a quantitatively important carbon store according to a global synthesis. Commun Earth Environ 2, 154 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00229-0