Greenhouse gas balance : Greenhouse emission from agricultural soils in Switzerland

Agriculturally exploited soils are an important source of greenhouse gases. Andreas Gattinger and his team evaluate the latest insights into how agriculture influences the emission and degradation of the nitrous oxide and methane.

Background (completed research project)

Soils are important sources and sinks of CO2, N2O and CH4, the three most important greenhouse gases. Agricultural soils are therefore the most important agricultural source of greenhouse gases worldwide. The NRP 68 project "Nitrous Oxide" analysed N2O emissions of agricultural soils in Switzerland. It focused on the production and degradation of N2O and on how these processes are influenced by soil management.


To close a knowledge gap, the project team evaluates the literature on N2O and CH4 flows. It looks at Swiss studies as well as studies dealing with other regions with similar climatic conditions. The aim is to provide a knowledge base about how agricultural soil influences the emission of nitrous oxide and methane.


The focus study aims to identify agricultural practices that support a sustainable and climate-friendly use of soil. Additionally, it will contribute to improving the reporting of greenhouse emissions in agriculture.

Original title

Agricultural soils in Switzerland as a source and sink of greenhouse gases

Principal investigator

  • Andreas Gattinger, FiBL
  • Daniel Bretscher, Agroscope
  • Andreas Schellenberger, BAFU