Impact of biochar amendment on carbon emissions intensity in double rice field in South China.

Qin, X., Li, Y., Wang, H., Li, J., Wan, Y, Li, Y., Liao, Y., Fan, M., Zhu, J., Gao, Q., and Liu, S. (2015). "Impact of biochar amendment on carbon emissions intensity in double rice field in South China.", Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering, 31(5), pp. 226-234. doi : 10.3969/j.issn.1002-6819.2015.05.032  Access to full text

Abstract

The resource utilization of organic materials in China cropland is a great challenge we are facing now. To study the ecological effects of biochar utilization, and explore the response of carbon emission intensity (GHGI) to biochar amendment for the long term in a double rice field in South China, two-year field measurements of greenhouse gases based on a static chamber-gas chromatography method were conducted. Six experimental treatments were set up, including 1) CK (famer traditional operation), 2) BC1 (biochar amendment at 5 t/hm2), 3) BC2 (biochar amendment at 10 t/hm2), 4) BC3 (biochar amendment at 20 t/hm2), 5) RS (raw rice straw residue return) and 6) RI (composted rice straw residue return). As a result, compared to CK, all of the biochar treatments inhibited the emission peaks of greenhouse gases from the double rice field. During the four rice growing seasons, the three biochar treatments decreased the 100 yr-scaled carbon dioxide emission equivalents by 27.53%, 58.65%, and 63.43%, respectively, compared with CK, RS, and RI. The biochar treatments significantly reduced methane emissions (P<0.05) at an average reduction rate of 50.84%. Among the three biochar and two rice straw residue treatments, BC3 had the lowest methane emission potential (2.75 mg/(m2 h)), while RS had the highest (10.05 mg/(m2·h)). For the nitrous oxide emissions, the average value of the three biochar treatments was lower than CK but higher than the two rice straw residue return treatments (P>0.05). Furthermore, there was no statistical significant yield increase effect found in the biochar treatments (P>0.05), compared with CK, RS, and RI, as the four-season average rice yields of the three biochar treatments were increased by 3.21%, 5.11%, and 2.29%, respectively. A significant higher yield in BC3 was observed than that in RS (P<0.05). Additionally, on a 100-year horizon, the GHGI of the three biochar treatments (average at 0.33 kg/kg) were 30.57%, 61.00%, and 64.82% lower than CK (0.48 kg/kg), RS (0.86 kg/kg), and RI (0.48 kg/kg), respectively. By the correlation matrix and principal component analysis, the biochar amendment controlled the distribution of rice yield, harvest index, soil organic matter, total carbon content, and chlorophyll content, while the rice straw residue return treatments dominated the distribution of the methane flux and GHGI. In summary, based on the present study, the application of the regression tree analysis offered a quantitative alternative to decision-making in analyzing the effects of biochar amendment on ecological environment. The results of this study indicated that the biochar amendment in soils has the potential to enhance soil carbon sequestration, increase rice yield, and mitigate the carbon emission intensity and the impact of climate change by optimization of the field managements and biochar return in an appropriate amount. This research could be used as a successful case study of scientific utilization of crop straw residue in China’s agriculture.

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