The addition of biochar has been reported as a strategy for improving soil fertility, crop productivity, and carbon sequestration. However, information regarding the effects of biochar on the carbon cycle in paddy fields under water-saving irrigation remains limited. Thus, a field experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of biochar addition on the net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2 and soil organic carbon (SOC) content of paddy fields under water-saving irrigation in the Taihu Lake region of China. Four treatments were applied: controlled irrigation (CI) without biochar addition as the control (CA), CI with biochar addition at a rate of 20 t·ha−1 (CB), CI with biochar addition at a rate of 40 t·ha−1 (CC), and flooding irrigation (FI) with biochar addition at a rate of 40 t·ha−1 (FC). Biochar addition increased rice yield and irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE) by 24.0–36.3 and 33.4–42.5%, respectively, compared with the control. In addition, biochar addition increased the NEE of CI paddy fields. The average NEE of paddy fields under CB and CC was 2.41 and 30.6% higher than that under CA, respectively. Thus, the increasing effect of biochar addition at a rate of 40 t·ha−1 was considerably better than those of the other treatments. Apart from biochar addition, irrigation mode was also identified as an influencing factor. CI management increased the NEE of paddy fields by 17.6% compared with FI management. Compared with CA, CB increased total net CO2 absorption by 10.0%, whereas CC decreased total net CO2 absorption by 13.8%. Biochar addition also increased SOC, dissolved organic carbon, and microbial biomass carbon contents. Therefore, the joint regulation of biochar addition and water-saving irrigation is a good technique for maintaining rice yield, increasing IWUE, and promoting soil fertility. Furthermore, when amended at the rate of 20 t·ha−1, biochar addition will be a good strategy for sequestering carbon in paddy fields.
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This research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51579070 and 51879076) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Nos. 2018B34114 and 2018B55814).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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