Mapping direct N2O emissions from peri-urban agriculture: The case of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona

Angelica Mendoza Beltran, Kelzy Jepsen, Martí Rufí-Salís, Sergi Ventura, Cristina Madrid Lopez, Gara Villalba*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Geographically explicit datasets reflecting local management of crops are needed to help improve direct nitrous oxide (N2O) emission inventories. Yet, the lack of geographically explicit datasets of relevant factors influencing the emissions make it difficult to estimate them in such way. Particularly, for local peri-urban agriculture, spatially explicit datasets of crop type, fertilizer use, irrigation, and emission factors (EFs) are hard to find, yet necessary for evaluating and promoting urban self-sufficiency, resilience, and circularity. We spatially distribute these factors for the peri-urban agriculture in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB) and create N2O emissions maps using crop-specific EFs as well as Tier 1 IPCC EFs for comparison. Further, the role of the soil types is qualitatively assessed. When compared to Tier 1 IPCC EFs, we find 15% more emissions (i.e. 7718 kg N2O-N year−1) than those estimated with the crop-specific EFs (i.e. 6533 kg N2O-N year−1) for the entire AMB. Emissions for most rainfed crop areas like cereals (e.g. oat and barley) and non-citric fruits (e.g. cherries and peaches), which cover 24% and 13% of AMB's peri-urban agricultural area respectively, are higher with Tier 1 EF. Conversely, crop-specific EFs estimate higher emissions for irrigated horticultural crops (e.g. tomato, artichoke) which cover 33% of AMB's peri-urban agricultural area and make up 70% of the total N2O emissions (4588 kg N2O-N year−1 using crop-specific EFs). Mapping the emissions helps evaluate spatial variability of key factors such as fertilizer use and irrigation of crops but carry uncertainties due to downscaling regional data to represent urban level data gaps. It also highlighted core emitting areas. Further the usefulness of the outputs on mitigation, sustainability and circularity studies are briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153514
Pages (from-to)153514
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the total environment
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2022


  • Cities
  • GHG emissions maps
  • GIS
  • Local food
  • SOIL
  • Urban agriculture


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