Biochar Reduces Short-Term Nitrate Leaching from A Horizon in an Apple Orchard
ABSTRACT Nitrogen leaching in croplands is a worldwide problem with implications both on human health and on the environment. Efforts should be taken to increase nutrient use efficiency and minimize N losses from terrestrial to water ecosystems. Soil-applied biochar has been reported to increase soil fertility and decrease nutrient leaching in tropical soils and under laboratory conditions. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of biochar addition on short-term N leaching from A soil horizon in a mature apple orchard growing on subalkaline soils located in the Po Valley (Italy). In spring 2009, 10 Mg of biochar per hectare was incorporated into the surface 20-cm soil layer by soil plowing. Cumulative nitrate (NO) and ammonium (NH) leaching was measured in treated and control plots 4 mo after the addition of biochar and the following year by using ion-exchange resin lysimeters installed below the plowed soil layer. Cumulative NO leaching was not affected by biochar after 4 mo, whereas in the following year it was significantly ( < 0.05) reduced by 75% over the control (from 5.5 to 1.4 kg ha). Conversely, NH leaching was very low and unaffected by soil biochar treatment. The present study shows that soil biochar addition can significantly decrease short-term nitrate leaching from the surface layer of a subalkaline soil under temperate climatic conditions.
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ABSTRACT: Biochar addition to soil is a promising option for climate change mitigation and is recognized to exert beneficial effects on soil fertility. However, recent meta-analysis documented controversial effects on soil–plant interactions and on crop yields response.Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 09/2015; 207. DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2015.04.015 · 3.20 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Over the last decade, the application of biochar (BC) as a soil amendment to sequester carbon and mitigate global climate change has received considerable attention. While positive effects of biochar on plant nutrition are well documented, little is known about potential impacts on the physical properties of soils, especially on water retention at low matric potentials. To overcome this knowledge gap, the effects of combined BC (0 to 100 Mg ha^−1) and manure (21 and 42Mg ha^−1) applications on water vapor sorption and specific surface area were investigated for a sandy loam soil. In addition, potential impacts of BC aging were evaluated. All considered BC-amendment rates increased water retention, especially at low matric potentials. The observed increases were attributed to a significant increase of soil organic matter and specific surface area (SSA) in BC-amended soils. Hysteresis of the water vapor sorption isotherms increased with increasing BC application rates. Biochar age did not significantly affect vapor sorption and SSA.Geoderma 04/2015; 243-244:175-182. DOI:10.1016/j.geoderma.2015.01.001 · 2.51 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Biochar addition to soil is a promising option for climate change mitigation and is recognized to exert beneficial effects on soil fertility. However, recent meta-analysis documented controversial effects on soil–plant interactions and on crop yields response. The data presented in this paper are the results of a field experiment on a processing tomato crop aiming to enhance the knowledge on the real applicability of biochar at farm scale in a high fertility alkaline soil. The effects of two biochar types on soil properties and on quantitative and qualitative parameters of processing tomato were evaluated. Biochar application significantly increased the soil carbon content, the soil cation exchange capacity and the availability of NH4+, P and K. Moreover, it stimulated plant growth and N, P and base cation contents at harvest, reducing the leaf water potential in the warmer period. These results demonstrate that also intensive cultivations in fertile soil can benefit from biochar amendment.Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 01/2015; 207:163-170. · 3.20 Impact Factor