Biochar amendment influenced distribution of soil organic matter fractions: A climate-smart approach to ensure food security
Thursday, August 5, 2021
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Debjani Sihi, Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, GA and Biswanath Dari, Crop and Soil Sciences Department, Oregon State University, Klamath Falls, OR
Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University Atlanta, GA, USA
Background/Question/Methods Soil organic matter (SOM) regulates the capacity of soil to provide regulatory ecosystem services. However, measuring changes of SOM effectively warrants taking its differences into account. Current efforts (climate-smart land-management practices) to promote SOM storage miss a key point. An improved understanding of how different SOM fractions (particulate organic matter, POM, and mineral-associated organic matter, MAOM) work and how our lifestyle choices change their relative distribution is of paramount importance to meet the two most pressing problems facing our planet: climate change and food security. Because of their very different lifetimes, measuring POM and MAOM have important environmental and socio-economic implications. This study will evaluate the dynamics of POM and MAOM under biochar amendment. We choose biochar because this is a climate-smart approach, which holds promise for a sustainable food future in nutrient-poor soils of tropics and subtropics. Results/Conclusions Our preliminary findings indicated that Biochar addition influenced microbial processing of plant inputs and distribution of SOM pool into POM and MAOM fractions. Biochar amendment increased the formation of MAOM versus POM due to higher microbial processing of plant-derived organic matter in biochar amended soil. The rate of soil CO2 release was less from MAOM-rich soils undergoing biochar-amendment than control soils rich in POM. Biochar amendment also increased plant biomass and growth due to the higher availability of nutrients associated with microbial decomposition of plant-derived organic matter in biochar amended soil. We believe these findings provide an innovative solution to evaluate the impact of climate-smart land-management practice mediated by biochar amendment, which has important policy implications.