Rice feeds more people than any other crop, but each kilogram of rice is
responsible for substantially more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than
other key staple foods. The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) has
recently received considerable attention for its ability to increase
yields while using less water. Yet so far there has been little research
into the GHG emissions associated with SRI production systems, and how
they compare to those from conventional flooded-rice production
A streamlined Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology was used to
compare the GHG emissions and groundwater use from SRI and from
conventional rice production. Input data were derived from farmer
questionnaires in SE India and appropriate secondary data sources.
The results showed that SRI methods substantially raised farmers'
yields, from 4.8 tons to 7.6 ton per hectare, a 58% increase, while
reducing water applications. At the same time it was seen that SRI
management offered opportunities for significant GHG reductions, both
per hectare and per kilogram of rice produced. These savings principally
arise from reduced methane emissions and reduced embodied emissions in
the electricity used to pump water for irrigation. SRI nitrous oxide
emissions were somewhat higher than on control farms, but the difference
was significant only per hectare, not per kg of rice. The net effects of
SRI practice on reducing global warming potential were positive in that
the small increases in N<sub>2</sub>O did not offset the larger
diminishment of CH<sub>4</sub>.
Gathorne-Hardy, A.; Reddy, D.N.; Venkatanarayana, M.; Harriss-White, B. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from SRI and Flooded Rice Production in SE India. Taiwan Water Conservancy Journal, Special Issue on SRI (2013) 61 (4) 111-125.
A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from SRI and Flooded Rice Production in SE India