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Eddy covariance flux measurements in the Ecological Intensification Platform

The EI platform at IRRI

In an effort to develop innovative agronomic solutions to anticipated needs for production of more rice on less land with a more efficient use of labor, water, and other inputs, IRRI established the Ecological Intensification (EI) platform in 2011. A major goal of this research platform is to develop scientifically sound principles that will guide agronomic decisions to achieve productivity gains through the intensification of cropping systems while meeting acceptable environmental standards.

The innovation research platform is conducted on three 4-ha study sites (a total of 12-ha fields) at the IRRI Experiment Station. The three sites are designed as long-term, production-scale experimental systems in which modern technologies are dynamically explored and adapted to the needs for different intensification and diversification options. One 4-ha study site (Block UY) is devoted to diversifying and mechanizing the cropping schedule of rice production in the traditional tillage of flooded soil. The other two 4-ha study sites (Block UE and Block UJ) are devoted to developing and adapting diversified rice-based systems that do not rely on traditional tillage of flooded soil.

(Eddy Covariance flyer)

Eddy covariance (EC) systems were installed at the center of each of the three EI fields to closely monitor a range of environmental parameters (i.e. energy, water, and carbon balances of the systems, as well as the global warming potential, productivity, agronomic input use efficiency, and changes in the soil environment) in these cropping systems. These EC systems quantify the global warming potential, photosynthetic efficiency, and the net biome productivity of each cropping system. Additionally, the daily evapotranspiration (ET) is quantified with the EC systems in each field and is used to inform irrigation scheduling to optimize water productivity and to determine the total ET demands of the contrasting systems.

Expected Outputs

The innovations and component technologies arising from the research platform will contribute to the future transformation of existing rice-cropping systems across the humid tropics.

A good mix of scientists with diverse specializations works on the EI platform at IRRI. The project is spearheaded by Roland Buresh and James Quilty and the field management is supervised by Teodoro Correa, Jr. The Eddy Covariance flux measurements are handled by Maricar Alberto, Caesar Arloo Centeno, Feriano Javier, and Reiner Wassmann. Crop physiology is monitored by Benoit Clerget and Crisanta Bueno, and Weed management is handled by Jhoana Opena.

The EI project team