Equal yield-scaled and lower area-scaled nitrous oxide emissions in organically managed soils.
Despite the increase in organic cropland, knowledge on the impact of organic farming on soil derived nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) emissions is rather limited. To improve the knowledge base, N2O and CH4 fluxes were investigated in a 571 day lasting cropping sequence in the "DOK" field trial. Two organic and two non-organic farming systems and an unfertilized control were chosen. For the whole monitoring, the two organic systems combined emitted 40% less N2O than the two non-organic ones cumulated on area-scale. Yield-scaled cumulated N2O emissions were nearly 10% lower for the organic systems combined, despite the yield gap of 27%. We found that besides N input, management induced soil quality properties drive differences in N2O emissions between farming systems as well. This supports the effort to invest in soil quality by ecological intensification not only to lower the environmental burden of agriculture but also to mitigate greenhouse gases.