Quantifying the trade-offs between ecosystem service provision and water management in rice systems

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/12/2016
End date: 31/12/2018
Funding: 5344000 SEK


Rice – a staple food for 3 billion people – consumes more water than any
other crop, leading to unsustainable water withdrawals. Alternate
wetting and drying (AWD) has thus been advocated instead of continuous
flooding. However, AWD does not guarantee high yields and promotes
decomposition of soil organic carbon (SOC) and loss of nutrients,
reducing fertility. Moreover, the lack of flooding impairs the
multi-functionality of rice systems (provision of services other than
yield, e.g. fish-rice farming). With this project, we will address this
trade-off between water savings, rice productivity and provision of
ecosystem services (ES). By budgeting the water cost of SOC protection
(which we name ‘brown water’), and by considering the advantages of
water-related multi-functionality, we will approach the issue of rice
sustainability in a more holistic way. We test the hypothesis that water
savings from AWD are offset by reduced soil fertility and ES provision
in 3 countries, 2 of which have large yield gaps (Tanzania, Vietnam, and
Italy). Soil analyses at our sites and global meta-analyses in
combination to process models will provide the first estimate of the
‘brown water’ footprint of rice production. Results will be shared by
engaging children, farmers, and the general public. We will raise
awareness of the intimate connections between rice and its soil, and
ultimately global climate, suggesting more sustainable practices and
climate change adaptation measures.

Last updated on 2017-06-10 at 08:49