A field experiment was conducted in Jurong of Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China from 2006 to 2008 to investigate N2O emission during the wheat-growing season as affected by various rice straw returning methods prior to wheat cultivation. The study was designed to have four treatments: no rice straw applied (CK), rice straw burnt in situ (RB), rice straw evenly incorporated into the topsoil (RI), rice straw evenly spread over the field as mulch (RM). Results showed that N2O emission was decreased by 24–29% in Treatment RB and by 3–18% in Treatment RI, but increased by 15–39% in Treatment RM, compared with that in Treatment CK. The contents of soil total C and N at wheat harvest were significantly increased by 7–13% and by 8–12% in Treatment RI, respectively, compared with that in Treatment CK. The wheat grain yield in Treatment RI was 1.0–1.2 times that in the Treatment CK. Based on these results, the best management practice of returning rice straw to the soil prior to wheat cultivation is evenly incorporating rice straw into the topsoil, as the method tended to reduce N2O emission during the wheat-growing season and increase wheat yield and soil fertility.
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Funding for this research work was provided by the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (Grant No. 40921061), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZCX2-YW-Q1-07), and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2008DAF21330).
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