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Biochar Impacts on Physical and Hydrological Properties of Allophonic Soils

1M. Hasinur Rahman*, 1Allister W. Holmes, 1Steven J Saunders, and 2K. R. Islam

1PlusGroup Ltd., Horticulture Innovation Centre, Newnham Park, Te Puna, Tauranga 3172, New Zealand
2Ohio StateUniversity South Centers, 1864 Shyville Road, Piketon, OH 45661, USA 3172, New Zealand
*Corresponding author’s e-mail: technical@plusgroup.co.nz

Background
1. Biochar is black carbon manufactured through pyrolysis in a low oxygen environment with the final aim to add it to soils to obtain an environmental and/or agricultural gain.

2. Because of its aromatic structure, biochar is very stable, with turnover times of a few hundred to thousands of years in soil.

3. New Zealand has over 1 million hectares planted in exotic forest, primarily Pinus radiata. Currently, large amounts of sawmill waste is burnt or otherwise destroyed in the Bay of Plenty.

4. Pyrolysis systems have been developed that uses sawmill waste as raw material to generate biooil and biogas, that can then be used to generate electricity for drying timber on site at the sawmill. These systems produce biochar as a byproduct.

Objective
The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of pine chips and biochar incorporated as soil amendments on physical and hydrological properties of allophanic soils.

Methods
The experiment was conducted under controlled condition at the PlusGroup laboratory. Two allophanic soils (Rich allophanic soil: Soil A and poor allophanic soil: Soil B) were collected from a kiwifruit orchard located at Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. Soil samples were air-dried and sieved through a 2.0 mm aperture and physio-chemical properties were measured. Pine chips and biochar generated from pine (Pinus radiata) chips, produced at Lakeland Steel Limited, Rotorua, New Zealand by pyrolysis at 600-630°C with a residence time of 30 min in a low oxygen environment were used as a soil amendment... Download full article.

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