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Tottori University (2011)

Effect of Biochar Application for Improvement of Sandy Soil

Kingsley Chinyere Uzoma

Titre : Effect of Biochar Application for Improvement of Sandy Soil

Auteur : Kingsley Chinyere Uzoma

Université de soutenance : Tottori University

Grade : Doctoral Thesis 2011


A study was conducted at the Arid Land Research Center, Tottori University, Japan to evaluate the application effect of biochar for sandy soil improvement in a combination of both laboratory and greenhouse experiments because information concerning the agronomic effects of biochar in drylands sandy soils is scarce.

In the laboratory study, the effect of black locust wood biochar pyrolysis temperatures (300, 400 and 500oC) on sandy soil hydraulic properties and nutrient retention were analyzed. Three application rates of biochar (0, 10 and 20 Mg ha-1) were used. It was found that biochar amendment improved sandy soil hydraulic properties and nutrient retention. The application rate of 20 Mg ha-1 reduced the hydraulic conductivity with increasing moisture content, as a result, the available water capacity increased by 97%, when compared to unamended sandy soil. The results of the study showed that biochar produced at 500oC pyrolysis temperature significantly improved sandy soil hydraulic properties better than other treatments whereas, biochar produced at 300oC had the highest nitrate retention among the treatments. In general, the results of the study demonstrated the importance of biochar pyrolysis temperature and biochar effect as sandy soil amendment that could be used to improve the agronomic side of the soil.

In the field study, the agronomic values of three biochars types produced from three different feedstock sources (black locust wood, cow manure and chicken manure) on maize production and sandy soil quality were investigated. The biochars were produced at 500oC pyrolysis temperature based on the laboratory study results. A randomized complete block design with four replicates was used. Four biochar application rates (0, 10, 15, and 20 Mg ha-1) were used for each biochar type. It was observed that cow manure biochar significantly increased maize growth, yield, water use efficiency and nutritional quality as well as the physico-chemical properties of the post harvest sandy soil at the higher application rates of 15 and 20 Mg ha-1. It was observed that the increases were significantly affected with increasing the biochar amendment rates. The increase in maize growth and yield was largely due to the improvement in the cation exchange capacity of the soil, a decrease in the hydraulic conductivity of the soil and an increase in the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus contents of the soil. The 15 Mg ha-1 had the highest effect on maize growth and yield and consequently on water use efficiency and grain nutrient uptake. This was attributed largely to the higher soil phosphorus availability in conjunction with higher nitrogen availability at 15 Mg ha-1 rate, as compared to other application rates. The pH, phosphorus, total carbon and nitrogen, exchangeable cations (potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium) contents and the cation exchange capacity of the post harvest soil was significantly increased in the biochar amended soil whereas, the field saturated hydraulic conductivity of the sandy soil was decreased in the amended plots and this was considered an improvement in the physical property of the sandy soil.



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