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Soil greenhouse gas, carbon content, and tree growth response to biochar amendment in western United States forests

Posted date: February 21, 2019
Publication Year: 
2018
Authors: Sarauer, Jessica L.; Page-Dumroese, Deborah S.; Coleman, Mark D.
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: GCB Bioenergy. doi: 10.1111/gcbb.12595.

Abstract

Restoring overstocked forests by thinning and pyrolyzing residual biomass produces biochar and other value‐added products. Forest soils amended with biochar have potential to sequester carbon (C), improve soil quality, and alter greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without depleting nutrient stocks. Yet, few studies have examined the effects of biochar on GHG emissions and tree growth in temperate forest soils. We measured GHG emissions, soil C content, and tree growth at managed forest sites in Idaho, Montana, and Oregon. We applied biochar amendments of 0, 2.5, or 25 Mg/ha to the forest soil surface. Flux of carbon dioxide and methane varied by season; however, neither were affected by biochar amendment. Flux of nitrous oxide was not detected at these nitrogen‐limited and unfertilized forest sites. Biochar amendment increased soil C content by 41% but did not affect tree growth. Overall, biochar had no detrimental effects on forest trees or soils. We conclude that biochar can be used harmlessly for climate change mitigation in forests by sequestering C in the soil.

Citation

Sarauer, Jessica L.; Page‐Dumroese, Deborah S.; Coleman, Mark D. 2018. Soil greenhouse gas, carbon content, and tree growth response to biochar amendment in western United States forests. GCB Bioenergy. doi: 10.1111/gcbb.12595.