Rice - Environmental Impacts

Environmental Impacts

Rice cultivation on wetland rice fields is thought to be responsible for 6–29% of the anthropogenic methane emissions annually. Rice requires slightly more water to produce than other grains.

Long-term flooding of rice fields cuts the soil off from atmospheric oxygen and causes anaerobic fermentation of organic matter in the soil. Current contributions of methane from agriculture is ~15% of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, as estimated by the IPCC. Methane is twenty times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

A 2010 study found that, as a result of rising temperatures and decreasing solar radiation during the later years of the 20th century, the rice yield growth rate has decreased in many parts of Asia, compared to what would have been observed had the temperature and solar radiation trends not occurred. The yield growth rate had fallen 10–20% at some locations. The study was based on records from 227 farms in Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, India, China, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The mechanism of this falling yield was not clear, but might involve increased respiration during warm nights, which expends energy without being able to photosynthesize.

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