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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 3, p. 852-860
     
    Received: May 11, 2009


    * Corresponding author(s): clought@lincoln.ac.nz
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doi:10.2136/sssaj2009.0185

Unweathered Wood Biochar Impact on Nitrous Oxide Emissions from a Bovine-Urine-Amended Pasture Soil

  1. T.J. Clough *a,
  2. J.E. Bertrama,
  3. J.L. Raya,
  4. L.M. Condrona,
  5. M. O'Callaghanb,
  6. R.R. Sherlockc and
  7. N.S. Wellsc
  1. a Soil and Physical Sciences Dep., Faculty of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Lincoln Univ. PO Box 84, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand
    b AgResearch, Private Bag 4749, Lincoln, New Zealand
    c Soil and Physical Sciences Dep., Faculty of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Lincoln Univ., PO Box 84, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand

Abstract

Low-temperature pyrolysis of biomass produces a product known as biochar The incorporation of this material into the soil has been advocated as a C sequestration method. Biochar also has the potential to influence the soil N cycle by altering nitrification rates and by adsorbing NH4 + or NH3 Biochar can be incorporated into the soil during renovation of intensively managed pasture soils. These managed pastures are a significant source of N2O, a greenhouse gas, produced in ruminant urine patches. We hypothesized that biochar effects on the N cycle could reduce the soil inorganic-N pool available for N2O-producing mechanisms. A laboratory study was performed to examine the effect of biochar incorporation into soil (20 Mg ha−1) on N2O-N and NH3–N fluxes, and inorganic-N transformations, following the application of bovine urine (760 kg N ha−1). Treatments included controls (soil only and soil plus biochar), and two urine treatments (soil plus urine and soil plus biochar plus urine). Fluxes of N2O from the biochar plus urine treatment were generally higher than from urine alone during the first 30 d, but after 50 d there was no significant difference (P = 0.11) in terms of cumulative N2O-N emitted as a percentage of the urine N applied during the 53-d period; however, NH3–N fluxes were enhanced by approximately 3% of the N applied in the biochar plus urine treatment compared with the urine-only treatment after 17 d. Soil inorganic-N pools differed between treatments, with higher NH4 + concentrations in the presence of biochar, indicative of lower rates of nitrification. The inorganic-N pool available for N2O-producing mechanisms was not reduced, however, by adding biochar.

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