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Cutting cotton carbon emissions: findings from Warangal, India

WWF-India is working with farmers in Warangal district of India to promote better management practices (BMPs) in cotton so as to reduce the environmental impact associated with the overuse of inputs and resources. This paper examines a pilot project to estimate the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of cotton production systems, comparing traditionally grown cotton with BMP cotton. The findings of the study include that emissions from fertilisers are the major determinant in overall GHG emissions in cotton cultivation; the significant potential for emission reductions make this the most crucial component of BMPs. Additionally, GHG mitigation options in cotton fields are suggested: balanced fertiliser application (over-application of fertiliser substantially increases GHG emissions, but does not appear to increase yield); crop residue management (which aids carbon sequestration in the soil); and restricting pesticide application (through using integrated pest management practices).