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Management of pasture soils: biochar stability, carbon storage potential and its effect on production and quality


Singh, BP and Fang, Y and Boersma, M and Collins, D and Van Zwieten, L and Macdonald, LM, Management of pasture soils: biochar stability, carbon storage potential and its effect on production and quality, Proceedings of the XXIII International Grassland Congress 2015, 20-24 November 2015, New Delhi, India, pp. 95-104. (2015) [Keynote Presentation]

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Copyright 2015 RMSI, Jhansi, UP

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The use of biochar has been proposed as a stable carbon (C) amendment with long-term carbon (C) storage potential in agricultural soils while improving primary productivity. However, this concept has not been widely tested in contrasting soils under temperate pasture systems. To address this knowledge gap, a 13C-labelled biochar, produced from Eucalyptus saligna biomass by slow pyrolysis (450 C; δ13C -36.7) was surface (0−10 cm) applied in C3 dominated, annual temperate pasture systems across Arenosol, Cambisol and Ferralsol. The results show that only 2% of the applied biochar-C was mineralised in a relatively clay- and C-poor Arenosol, 4.6% in a clay- and C-rich Cambisol, and 7% in a clay- and C-rich and earthworm-abundant Ferralsol over 12 months. Biochar application increased soil C stock, while the mean residence time of biochar-C, an indicator of its stability in soil, decreased with increasing native C content and/or pasture productivity across the soils i.e. Arenosol (71 years) < Cambisol (39 years) < Ferralsol (29 years). Biochar application increased pasture growth rate only on two occasions over 12 months in the Ferralsol but not in the other pasture-soil systems. The biochar-C recovery to 12−30 cm depth varied as 1.2% (Arenosol), 2.7% (Cambisol) and 15.7% (Ferralsol) after 12 months. Cumulative CO2-C emission from native soil-plant sources was lower (p <0.10) in the biochar-amended vs.via mineralisation in the Arenosol and Ferralsol but in the Cambisol. This migration of biochar to deeper soil layers could enhance C sequestration potential in soil systems.

Item Details

Item Type:Keynote Presentation
Keywords:biochar, pasture, carbon dioxide, climate change, ryegrass, diary
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Crop and pasture production
Research Field:Crop and pasture production not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Mitigation of climate change
Objective Field:Management of greenhouse gas emissions from plant production
UTAS Author:Boersma, M (Dr Mark Boersma)
ID Code:102161
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2015-08-01
Last Modified:2020-04-06

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