Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2021-131
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2021-131

  22 Nov 2021

22 Nov 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SOIL.

Inclusion of biochar in a C-dynamics model based on observations from a 8 years field experiment

Roberta Pulcher1, Enrico Balugani2, Maurizio Ventura3, and Diego Marazza1,2 Roberta Pulcher et al.
  • 1Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, BIGeA, Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  • 2Department of Physics and Astronomy, Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  • 3Faculty of Science and Technology, Libera Università di Bolzano, 39100 Bolzano/Bozen, Italy

Abstract. Biochar production and application as soil amendment is a promising carbon (C) negative technology to increase soil C sequestration and mitigate climate change. However, there is a lack of knowledge about biochar degradation rate in soil and its effects on native soil organic carbon (SOC), mainly due to the absence of long term experiments performed in field conditions. The aim of this work was to investigate the long term degradation rate of biochar in a field experiment of 8 years in a poplar short rotation coppice plantation in Piedmont (Italy), and to modify the RothC model to assess and predict how biochar influences soil C dynamics. The RothC model was modified by including two biochar pools, labile (4 % of the total biochar mass) and recalcitrant (96 %), and the priming effect of biochar on SOC. The model was calibrated and validated using data from the field experiment. The results confirm that biochar degradation can be faster in field conditions in comparison to laboratory experiments; nevertheless, it can contribute to substantially increase the soil C stock in the long-term. Moreover, this study shows that the modified RothC model was able to simulate the dynamics of biochar and SOC degradation in soils in field conditions in the long term, at least in the specific conditions examined.

Roberta Pulcher et al.

Status: open (until 07 Jan 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Roberta Pulcher et al.

Roberta Pulcher et al.

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Short summary
Biochar, a solid product from thermical conversion of biomass, can be used as a climate change mitigation strategy, since it can sequester carbon from the atmosphere and store it into the soil. The aim of this study is to assess the potential of biochar as mitigation strategy in the long-term, by modelling the results obtained from a field experiment, over 8 years. As far as we know, this is the first time that a model for biochar degradation has been validated with long-term field data.