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Inclusion of biochar in a C-dynamics model based on observations from a 8 years field experiment
Soil  (IF5.841),  Pub Date : 2021-11-22, DOI: 10.5194/soil-2021-131
Roberta Pulcher, Enrico Balugani, Maurizio Ventura, Diego Marazza

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.