Effect of Straw Retention on Crop Yield, Soil Properties, Water Use Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emission in China: A Meta-Analysis

  • Peng Liu
  • Jin HeEmail author
  • Hongwen Li
  • Qingjie Wang
  • Caiyun Lu
  • Kan Zheng
  • Wenzheng Liu
  • Hongbo Zhao
  • Shangyi Lou


Crop straw retention to field (CSRF) is a technology to impact the crop yield, soil properties and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and plays a critical role in sustainable agriculture system. Based on the literatures published, a meta-analysis was performed to evaluate actual impact of CSRF on crop yield, soil properties and GHG emission compared with straw no-retention (NSR). The results indicated that compared with NSR, yield of wheat, maize and rice under CSRF was significantly higher by 4.11, 7.22 and 7.62% respectively; CSRF enhanced the water use efficiency (WUE) and soil organic carbon (SOC) by 14.60 and 7.59%, respectively, reduced the bulk density of 0–20 cm soil layer by 3.06%., while it had no significant effect on the SOC of 20–40 cm; For GHG emissions, the soil emissions of CO2, N2O and CH4 were significantly improved under CSRF by 23.64, 12.21 and 27.34% respectively. Categorically, results on meta-analysis and regression indicated that large variation in crop yield, SOC content and bulk density in 0–20 cm soil layer, WUE and GHG emission under CSRF compared with NSR because of different straw retention mass, retention regions, and crop species. For example, the increased rate of large straw retention mass (LA) on crop yield was the highest. Adoption of CSRF under appropriate site-specific conditions can safeguard China’s food security, alleviate soil-related constraints and slightly increase GHG emissions.


Meta-analysizs Straw retention Crop yield Soil properties Greenhouse gas emission 



The authors acknowledge the support of Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest from the Ministry of Agriculture, China (Grant No. 201503136) and the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research· Team in University of China (Grant No. IRT13039). The authors thank Dr. Zhao Xin, Dr. Hu Hongnan, and Dr. Cheng Xiupei for technological help.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 83 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peng Liu
    • 1
  • Jin He
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hongwen Li
    • 1
  • Qingjie Wang
    • 1
  • Caiyun Lu
    • 1
  • Kan Zheng
    • 2
  • Wenzheng Liu
    • 1
  • Hongbo Zhao
    • 1
  • Shangyi Lou
    • 1
  1. 1.College of EngineeringChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.College of EngineeringHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina

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