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Agronomy 2018, 8(5), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8050074

Short-Term Effects of Biochar Amendment on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Rainfed Agricultural Soils of the Semi–Arid Loess Plateau Region

1,2,3,* , 1,4,5
,
1,2
and
1,2
1
Gansu Provincial Key Lab of Aridland Crop Science, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
2
College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
3
CSIR-Crops Research Institute, P.O. Box 3785 Kumasi, Ghana
4
College of Agronomy, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
5
Department of Agronomy, University for Development Studies, P.O. Box 1882 Tamale, Ghana
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 19 April 2018 / Published: 16 May 2018
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Abstract

In rainfed agricultural ecosystems in northwest China, improving soil fertility and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are key factors for developing sustainable agriculture. This study determined the short-term effects of different biochar amendment rates on diurnal and seasonal variations of GHG emissions in the Loess Plateau to produce a background dataset that may be used to inform nutrient management guidelines for semiarid environments. Biochar produced by pyrolysis at 300–500 °C from maize straw was applied at rates of 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 t ha−1 (T0, T1, T2, T3, T4, T5), respectively. The results indicated that in the first year after the application, T3, T4, and T5 treatments increased soil organic carbon (0–10 cm) by 54.7%, 56.3%, and 56.9% compared to the other treatments. In the first, year, biochar amendment decreased diurnal CH4 and N2O flux by an average of 17–119% compared to T0, among which T3 had the lowest mean value. T3 and T4 also had similar mean CO2 flux, which was 33% lower than T0. Application of 30 t ha−1 biochar produced the lowest cumulative CO2 and N2O emissions of 2300 and 4.07 kg h−1, respectively. Biochar amendment showed no effect on grain yiel but reduced the global warming potential and GHG emission intensity by an average of 23% and 25%, respectively. The biochar application rate of 30 t ha−1 under the conditions of this study may be an appropriate rate for improving soil C sequestration and mitigation of GHG emissions in the first year after its application to soils on semi–arid Loess Plateau. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon sequestration; grain yield; loess plateau; sandy loam; semi–arid carbon sequestration; grain yield; loess plateau; sandy loam; semi–arid
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Yeboah, S.; Lamptey, S.; Cai, L.; Song, M. Short-Term Effects of Biochar Amendment on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Rainfed Agricultural Soils of the Semi–Arid Loess Plateau Region. Agronomy 2018, 8, 74.

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