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The Effects of Gliricidia-Derived Biochar on Sequential Maize and Bean Farming

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Rio Conservation and Sustainability Science Centre, Department of Geography and the Environment, Pontifícia Universidade Católica, Rio de Janeiro 22453-900, Brazil
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International Institute for Sustainability, Estrada Dona Castorina 124, Rio de Janeiro 22460-320, Brazil
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Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, Rodovia BR 465, Km 7, Seropédica, Rio de Janeiro 23890-000, Brazil
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Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Informatics, Faculty of Production and Power Engineering, University of Agriculture in Kraków, Balicka 116B, 30-149 Kraków, Poland
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School of Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
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Programa de Pós Graduação em Ecologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro 21941, Brazil
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Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, Embrapa Agrobiology, Rodovia BR-465, Km 7, Seropédica, Rio de Janeiro 23891-000, Brazil
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Department of Environmental Engineering, Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, P.O. Box 3930, Ullevål Stadion, N-0806 Oslo, Norway
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030578
Received: 27 November 2017 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
The addition of biochar to soils can improve soil fertility and increase agricultural productivity. We carried out a field experiment in which biochar produced from Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Kunth ex Walp. was added to low-fertility Brazilian planosol and tested to increase the yield of maize (Zea mays) and snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in sequential, organic cultivation. Biochar was applied at a 15 t/ha rate, combined or not with Azospirillum Brasiliense inoculation and organic fertilizer (Bokashi). The application of biochar resulted in an increase in soil pH and of the content of macronutrients such as phosphorus and potassium. Contrary to evidence from elsewhere, biochar had a limited effect on increasing maize yield. In the case of beans, when combined with fertilizer, biochar increased the production of beans pods and biomass, but the significant increase was observed only for inoculation. Beans are the principal component of Brazilian diet and increasing productivity of beans is of upmost importance for the poorest in Brazil, and in other tropical countries. View Full-Text
Keywords: biochar; maize and beans; smallholder farming; productivity; Brazil biochar; maize and beans; smallholder farming; productivity; Brazil
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Castro, A.; Da Silva Batista, N.; Latawiec, A.E.; Rodrigues, A.; Strassburg, B.; Silva, D.; Araujo, E.; De Moraes, L.F.D.; Guerra, J.G.; Galvão, G.; Alves-Pinto, H.; Mendes, M.; Dos Santos, J.S.; Rangel, M.C.; Figueredo, M.; Cornelissen, G.; Hale, S. The Effects of Gliricidia-Derived Biochar on Sequential Maize and Bean Farming. Sustainability 2018, 10, 578.

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