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Biochar increases tree biomass in a managed boreal forest, but does not alter N2O, CH4, and CO2 emissions

Grau-Andrés, Roger and Pingree, Melissa and Öquist, Mats and Wardle, David and Nilsson, Marie-Charlotte and Gundale, Michael (2021). Biochar increases tree biomass in a managed boreal forest, but does not alter N2O, CH4, and CO2 emissions. GCB Bioenergy. 13 , 1329-1342
[Research article]

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Abstract

Biochar soil amendment may provide the forestry sector with a formidable tool to simultaneously sequester carbon (C) in the soil and aboveground by enhancing plant productivity, yet several key uncertainties remain. Crucially, empirical evidence of long-term effects of biochar management on vegetation and on greenhouse gas emissions in forest ecosystems is scarce. Using a large field experiment in a young managed boreal forest in northern Sweden, we investigated the effects of biochar (applied either on the soil surface or mixed in the soil 8-9 years prior to this study) on supply rates of soil nutrients, on survival and growth of planted Pinus sylvestris, on community composition of the understory vegetation, and on forest floor fluxes of N2O, CH4, and CO2. We found that biochar promoted P. sylvestris survival only when biochar was applied on the soil surface. Conversely, biochar enhanced P. sylvestris growth overall, resulting in a 19% increase in C stored in biomass. Biochar also altered the composition of the understory vegetation, especially when mixed into the soil, and promoted a more resource-conservative community (i.e., with more ericaceous shrubs and less graminoids and forbs). Meanwhile, supply rates of the main soil nutrients were largely unaffected by biochar. Finally, we found that biochar did not alter overall N2O and CO2 emissions and CH4 uptake from the forest floor. Our findings show that biochar amendment increased the net C input to the system, since, besides directly increasing soil C stocks, biochar enhanced biomass growth without increasing soil C losses. Therefore, our study suggests that biochar could potentially be used for emissions abatement in intensively managed boreal forests.

Authors/Creators:Grau-Andrés, Roger and Pingree, Melissa and Öquist, Mats and Wardle, David and Nilsson, Marie-Charlotte and Gundale, Michael
Title:Biochar increases tree biomass in a managed boreal forest, but does not alter N2O, CH4, and CO2 emissions
Series Name/Journal:GCB Bioenergy
Year of publishing :2021
Volume:13
Page range:1329-1342
Number of Pages:14
Publisher:WILEY
ISSN:1757-1693
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Forest Science
Keywords:carbon sequestration, charcoal, forest management, greenhouse gas emission, Pinus sylvestris, plant community composition, soil nutrient supply, tree growth, tree survival, understory vegetation
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-112574
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-112574
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1111/gcbb.12864
Web of Science (WoS)000660902900001
ID Code:25000
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(S) > Dept. of Forest Ecology and Management
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:24 Aug 2021 09:25
Metadata Last Modified:24 Aug 2021 09:32

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