Effects of biochar on soil respiration and nitrogen mineralization in boreal forests

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Title: Effects of biochar on soil respiration and nitrogen mineralization in boreal forests
Author: Mishra, Anup
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta, Metsätieteiden laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Forest Sciences
Helsingfors universitet, Agrikultur- och forstvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för skogsvetenskaper
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2018
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201810103329
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Metsien ekologia ja käyttö
Forest Ecology and Management
skoglig ekologi och resurshushållning
Abstract: Tiivistelmä * * Abstract Biochar is a porous carbonaceous solid material produced by pyrolysis, the thermochemical conversion of biomass in anoxic conditions. Various studies suggest that biochar amendment has a postitive effect on soil pH, soil respiration, carbon/ nitrogen ratio, nitrogen mineralization, ammonifcation and nitrification. These measurements have been studied in agricultural systems but are poorly understood in boreal forests. The study was done to investigate the effects of different wood biochar application rates: 0 t ha-1, 5 t ha-1, 10 t ha-1 on soil pH, respiration and nitrogen mineralization. Replicated studies were conducted at field sites located in Juupajoki (61⁰ 48´ N, 24⁰ 18´ E), southern Finland in young pine forest stands. The measurements were taken one year after the addition of biochar. The soil respiration ( CO2 effluxes ) were measured in June and july with different biochar ( pyrolysis temperatures 500⁰ C and 650⁰ C) while N mineralization was measured in November with biochar produced at 650 C. Biochar amendment increased soil pH in plots having biochar 10 t ha-1. Nitrogen mineralization rate in the organic layer increased with the increasing amount of biochar addition but the increase was not statistically significant. The pyrolysis temperature had no significant impact on soil CO2 effluxes. The biochar also did not have any significant impact on soil CO2 effluxes. However, in June, the plots treated with 10 t ha-1 biochar produced at 650⁰ C had significantly higher CO2 effluxes than control plots. The soil respiration data showed that biochar did not have any negative effect on native soil C stocks. We conclude that biochar exhibits important charactertics that will help carbon sequestration and N cycling in boreal forests.
Subject: Biochar
Soil respiration
Nitrogen mineralization
Soil pH

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