Restoring [urban] landscapes with pyrogenic carbon Nigel Gale, Md. Abdul Halim, and SC Thomas E: [email protected] Summary: Charcoal used as a soil amendment, or biochar, is a climate change mitigation technology with substantial promise to ameliorate soil conditions associated with industrialization: acidification, nutrient leaching, loss of organic matter, and contamination. In a series of glasshouse studies in Toronto, Ontario, we tested the effects of pyrolyzed timber waste materials (biochar) on the growth and performance of temperate plants. Biochar soil amendments mitigated salt induced stress in a roadside herbaceous plant, facilitated succession of pioneer herbaceous plants and fire-adapted trees by enhancing growth and physiological performance. Biochar thus has considerable potential to be used as a fire disturbance mimic to restore industrialized landscapes while combating climate change. Biochar is produced by thermally degrading waste materials from a local timber mill Sawdust, woodchips, and bark waste residues from the Haliburton Forest mill is converted to charcoal! The feed-through pyrolyzer at Haliburton Forest Ltd., Ontario (Lehmann 2007) Pyrolysis converts long-chained lignocellulosic materials into stable aromatic carbon Coal Cellulose Graphite Benzene Enhanced plant growth and performance to biochar amended soils in a series of glasshouse trials Biochar mitigates salt stress and enhances physiological performance in the herbaceous pioneer Abutilon theophrasti Biochar facilitates early succession by increasing growth in herbaceous pioneers Fire-adapted tree seedlings had 21% greater biomass when grown in maple sawdust biochars 1.4 2.5 Belowground biomass of Trifolium repens Belowground biomass of Trifolium repens (clover) +21% 1.3 2.0 +C5 +C5+S +C50 +C50+S 80% greater root mass Rate of carbon assimilation ( mmol / m2 s) 1.0 1.0 -13% 0.5 (Gale et al., unpublished ) 0.9 A. theophrasti amended with sugar maple sawdust biochar (378ºC) applied at 5 t/ha (C +5) and 50 t/ha (C+50) with roadside salt application of 30g / m2 (+ salt, +C5+S, +C50+S) (Thomas et al. 2013) 1.1 (g) +Salt 1.2 Control 1.5 13 0.0 0.8 12 Larix laricia grown in brunisolic soil with (B) and without (C) biochar 0 Non fireadapted 8 7 6 5 0 50 100 150 Biochar dosage (t/ha) 200 20 t/ha 0.7 9 10 Biochar addition rate (t/ha) 11 10 0 1 Fire-adapted From 20 regional tree, including conifers and deciduous trees grown over 2 years (faster-growing species harvested at one year). Range of shade and drought tolerance. Biochar produced at 450ºC and applied at 10/ha. (Thomas et al., unpublished) (Gale and Thoma,s unpublished) Tanectum vulgare grown in brunisolic soil with no, 10, and 20 t/ha biochar (left to right) Biochar should be used to ameliorate soil conditions common in the urban landscape Acknowledgements Industrial partner: Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve Ltd, ON Thomas Lab members: Dr. Tara Sackett, Jon Schurman, Mark Horsburg, Janise Herridge, Robert Godfrey, Leeladarshini Sujeeun, Susan Gordon, Sunny XiaoTong, and Joanna Lin Other collaborators: Carolyn Winsborough, Gowthaman Rajakumar, Chihiro Ikeda, Emma Horrigan, and James Hall Mitigate road salt effects Enhance ‘street tree’ performance Facilitate restoration of industrialized land Literature cited Thomas, S. C., Frye, S., Gale, N., Garmon, M., Launchbury, R., Machado, N., ... & Winsborough, C. (2013). Biochar mitigates negative effects of salt additions on two herbaceous plant species. Journal of environmental management, 129, 62-68. Lehmann, Johannes. 2007. Bio-energy in the black. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 5.7: 381-387.
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