Increasing canopy photosynthesis in rice can be achieved without a large increase in water use-A model based on free-air CO2 enrichment

Hiroki Ikawa*, Charles P. Chen, Martin Sikma, Mayumi Yoshimoto, Hidemitsu Sakai, Takeshi Tokida, Yasuhiro Usui, Hirofumi Nakamura, Keisuke Ono, Atsushi Maruyama, Tsutomu Watanabe, Tsuneo Kuwagata, Toshihiro Hasegawa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Achieving higher canopy photosynthesis rates is one of the keys to increasing future crop production; however, this typically requires additional water inputs because of increased water loss through the stomata. Lowland rice canopies presently consume a large amount of water, and any further increase in water usage may significantly impact local water resources. This situation is further complicated by changing the environmental conditions such as rising atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]). Here, we modeled and compared evapotranspiration of fully developed rice canopies of a high-yielding rice cultivar (Oryza sativa L. cv. Takanari) with a common cultivar (cv. Koshihikari) under ambient and elevated [CO2] (A-CO2 and E-CO2, respectively) via leaf ecophysiological parameters derived from a free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiment. Takanari had 4%-5% higher evapotranspiration than Koshihikari under both A-CO2 and E-CO2, and E-CO2 decreased evapotranspiration of both varieties by 4%-6%. Therefore, if Takanari was cultivated under future [CO2] conditions, the cost for water could be maintained at the same level as for cultivating Koshihikari at current [CO2] with an increase in canopy photosynthesis by 36%. Sensitivity analyses determined that stomatal conductance was a significant physiological factor responsible for the greater canopy photosynthesis in Takanari over Koshihikari. Takanari had 30%-40% higher stomatal conductance than Koshihikari; however, the presence of high aerodynamic resistance in the natural field and lower canopy temperature of Takanari than Koshihikari resulted in the small difference in evapotranspiration. Despite the small difference in evapotranspiration between varieties, the model simulations showed that Takanari clearly decreased canopy and air temperatures within the planetary boundary layer compared to Koshihikari. Our results indicate that lowland rice varieties characterized by high-stomatal conductance can play a key role in enhancing productivity and moderating heat-induced damage to grain quality in the coming decades, without significantly increasing crop water use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1321-1341
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number3
Early online date15 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Canopy photosynthesis
  • Crop water use
  • Evapotranspiration
  • Free-air CO enrichment
  • Heat-induced damage
  • High-yielding rice cultivar
  • Land surface model
  • Stomatal conductance

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