Biochar Sequesters Nitrogen in Pastures

Anyone following this blog backeven to 2007, knows that I am unapologetic when it comes to the subject ofbiochar.  Quite simply every acre of soilon earth needs to be beneficiated with ten percent biochar to the depth ofrooting.  There may be exceptions and I maybe surprised, but rapidly expanding research is step by step bearing this out.

This is a particularly importantpaper, because it bears out that nitrogen is trapped by the biochar until it isused, even in pastures.  Optimizing itall means achieving that ten percent mark which takes years at least anddecades if one is more leisurely about it.

Everyone is arguing the carbonsequestration issue but that is irrelevant compared to the fact that thisprotocol swiftly manufactures real living soils were none existed.  Those soils retain nutrients naturally untilthey are extracted by a living plant.

What more do you need tounderstand?

Can Biochar Help Suppress Greenhouse Gases

by Staff Writers

Madison WI(SPX) Mar 23, 2011

Addition of biochar to the soil allowed for a 70% reduction in nitrous oxide fluxesover the course of the study. Nitrogen contribution from livestock urine to theemitted nitrous oxide decreased as well.

Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas and a precursor to compounds thatcontribute to the destruction of the ozone. Intensively managed, grazedpastures are responsible for an increase in nitrous oxide emissions fromgrazing animals' excrement.

Biochar is potentially a mitigation option for reducing the world'selevated carbon dioxide emissions, since the embodied carbon canbe sequestered in the soil. Biochar also has the potential to beneficiallyalter soil nitrogen transformations.

Laboratory tests have indicated that adding biochar to the soil couldbe used to suppress nitrous oxide derived from livestock. Biochar has been usedfor soil carbon sequestration in the same manner.

In a study funded by the Foundation for Research Science andTechnology, scientists at Lincoln University in New Zealand, conducted an experiment overan 86-day spring/summer period to determined the effect of incorporatingbiochar into the soil on nitrous oxide emissions from the urine patchesproduced by cattle.

Biochar was added to the soil during pasture renovation and gas sampleswere taken on 33 different occasions. The study was published in theMarch/April 2011 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality.

Addition of biochar to the soil allowed for a 70% reduction in nitrousoxide fluxes over the course of the study. Nitrogen contribution from livestockurine to the emitted nitrous oxide decreased as well. The incorporation ofbiochar into the soil had no detrimental effects on dry matter yield or totalnitrogen content in the pasture.

Arezoo Taghizadeh-Toosi who conducted the study, says that under thehighest rate of biochar, ammonia formation and its subsequent adsorption ontoor into the biochar, reduced the inorganic-nitrogen pool available fornitrifiers and thus nitrate concentrations were reduced. Such effects wouldhave diminished the substrate available for microbial nitrous oxide production.
Research work is ongoing and still required to determine seasonaleffects, and the effects of repeated urine deposition.

The fullarticle is available for no charge for 30 days following the date ofthis summary.

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