Long-term effect of biochar on the stabilization of recent carbon: soils with historical inputs of charcoal

Hernandez-Soriano, Maria C., Kerre, Bart, Goos, Peter, Hardy, Brieuc, Dufey, Joseph and Smolders, Erik (2015) Long-term effect of biochar on the stabilization of recent carbon: soils with historical inputs of charcoal. Global Change Biology Bioenergy, 8 2: 371-381. doi:10.1111/gcbb.12250

Author Hernandez-Soriano, Maria C.
Kerre, Bart
Goos, Peter
Hardy, Brieuc
Dufey, Joseph
Smolders, Erik
Title Long-term effect of biochar on the stabilization of recent carbon: soils with historical inputs of charcoal
Journal name Global Change Biology Bioenergy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1757-1707
Publication date 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/gcbb.12250
Volume 8
Issue 2
Start page 371
End page 381
Total pages 11
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
This study was set up to identify the long-term effect of biochar on soil C sequestration of recent carbon inputs. Arable fields (n = 5) were found in Belgium with charcoal-enriched black spots (>50 m2; n = 14) dating >150 years ago from historical charcoal production mound kilns. Topsoils from these ‘black spots’ had a higher organic C concentration [3.6 ± 0.9% organic carbon (OC)] than adjacent soils outside these black spots (2.1 ± 0.2% OC). The soils had been cropped with maize for at least 12 years which provided a continuous input of C with a C isotope signature (δ13C) −13.1, distinct from the δ13C of soil organic carbon (−27.4 ‰) and charcoal (−25.7 ‰) collected in the surrounding area. The isotope signatures in the soil revealed that maize-derived C concentration was significantly higher in charcoal-amended samples (‘black spots’) than in adjacent unamended ones (0.44% vs. 0.31%; P = 0.02). Topsoils were subsequently collected as a gradient across two ‘black spots’ along with corresponding adjacent soils outside these black spots and soil respiration, and physical soil fractionation was conducted. Total soil respiration (130 days) was unaffected by charcoal, but the maize-derived C respiration per unit maize-derived OC in soil significantly decreased about half (P < 0.02) with increasing charcoal-derived C in soil. Maize-derived C was proportionally present more in protected soil aggregates in the presence of charcoal. The lower specific mineralization and increased C sequestration of recent C with charcoal are attributed to a combination of physical protection, C saturation of microbial communities and, potentially, slightly higher annual primary production. Overall, this study provides evidence of the capacity of biochar to enhance C sequestration in soils through reduced C turnover on the long term.
Keyword Biochar
Carbon sequestration
Crop yield
Soil aggregates
Soil organic carbon
Soil productivity
Stable isotopes
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Non HERDC
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 6 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 08 Feb 2015, 16:20:25 EST by Maria Hernandez-soriano on behalf of School of Agriculture and Food Sciences