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Biochar Fertilization Significantly Increases Nutrient Levels in Plants and Soil but Has No Effect on Biomass of Pinus massoniana (Lamb.) and Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook Saplings During the First Growing Season

by 1,2,3,†, 1,3,†, 1,3,*, 1,3, 4, 1 and 2
1
Research Institute of Subtropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Hangzhou 311400, China
2
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape research WSL, Zuercherstrasse 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
3
Qianjiangyuan Forest Ecosystem Research Station, National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China, Hangzhou 311400, China
4
State Forestry Administration Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Environment, Research Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Those authors contributed equally to this work.
Forests 2019, 10(8), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10080612
Received: 22 June 2019 / Revised: 7 July 2019 / Accepted: 21 July 2019 / Published: 24 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intensive Silviculture)
Previous studies have shown that biochar fertilization has profound effects on plant and fine root growth, but there is a lack of studies on how changes in plant and soil stoichiometry by biochar fertilization influence plant growth and root morphology. We investigated the effects of biochar fertilization on biomass, root morphology, plant nutrient concentrations, and the stoichiometry of plants and soil in a greenhouse experiment with Pinus massoniana (Lamb.) (PM) and Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook. (CL) throughout the 2017 growing season immediately following biochar fertilization application. Four levels of biochar treatment were used, i.e., addition rates of 0 (control), 5 (low biochar), 10 (medium biochar), and 20 t ha−1 (high biochar). Biochar fertilization had no effect on biomass, fine root length, or fine root surface area. Biochar treatment, however, had significant effects on nutrient levels and their stoichiometry in both plants and soil. Detrended correspondence analysis suggested that increases in soil C:N, soil C:P, and soil N:P were associated with increases in plant nutrient levels, especially P concentration. Our results indicate that biochar fertilization prioritizes enhancing plant and soil nutrients over increasing height and diameter in the first growing season. A higher biochar fertilization dosage has a major influence on root morphology for PM and on P concentrations in the plant and soil for CL, probably through different growth characteristics and nutrient resorption rates. Further studies, particularly those considering long-term effects, are necessary before general recommendations regarding biochar application should be given. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomass allocation; nonstructural carbohydrates; nutrient absorption; plant–soil interaction; root growth biomass allocation; nonstructural carbohydrates; nutrient absorption; plant–soil interaction; root growth
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Ge, X.; Yang, Z.; Zhou, B.; Cao, Y.; Xiao, W.; Wang, X.; Li, M.-H. Biochar Fertilization Significantly Increases Nutrient Levels in Plants and Soil but Has No Effect on Biomass of Pinus massoniana (Lamb.) and Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook Saplings During the First Growing Season. Forests 2019, 10, 612.

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