Biochar can improve the soil quality of new creation farmland on the Loess Plateau

Abstract

The Loess Plateau is the most severely degraded soil area worldwide and represents one of the lowest areas of soil productivity. To solve the conundrum between increasing populations and decreasing agricultural acreage, enhancing the quantity of cultivated land, gully land consolidation projects has been implemented. However, the new creation farmland soil is not enough to satisfy the demand of agricultural production. An incubation experiment was conducted to determine the effects of biochar on the new creation farmland soil. Five levels of amendments (0, 1%, 2%, 5%, and 10% (wt%) biochar soil) were used, and the soil columns remained in the laboratory for approximately 2 months. The results show that biochar proportion was a more important factor than incubation time across all soils tested. The soil moisture content and particle size clearly increased as the amendment level increased; however, the soil pH decreased gradually with incubation time and tended to slow soil salinization. These findings will have to be verified under field conditions.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  1. Atkinson CJ, Fitzgerald JD, Hipps NA (2010) Potential mechanisms for achieving agricultural benefits from biochar application to temperate soils: a review. Plant Soil 337(1–2):1–18

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Brockhoff SR, Christians NE, Killorn RJ (2010) Physical and mineral-nutrition properties of Sand-Based Turfgrass Root Zones Amended with Biochar. Agron J 102(6):1627–1631

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Brodowski S, John B, Flessa H (2006) Aggregate-occluded black carbon in soil. Eur J Soil Sci 57(4):539–546

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Chen B, Liu EK, Tian Q (2014a) Soil nitrogen dynamics and crop residues. A review. Agron Sustain Dev 34(2):429–442

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Chen XX, He XS, Zhang W, Geng ZC (2014b) Effects of quantity of biochar on nitrogen leaching in simulated soil columns and soil moisture parameters in field. Agric Res Arid Areas 32(1):110–109

    Google Scholar 

  6. Chen YP, Wang KB, Lin YS, Shi WY, Song Y, He XH (2015) Balancing green and grain trade. Nat Geosci 8:739–741

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Dexter AR (2004) Soil physical quality: part I. theory, effects of soil texture, density, and organic matter, and effects on root growth. Geoderma 120(3):201–214

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Dias BO, Silva CA, Higashikawa FS, Roig A, Sanchez-Monedero MA (2010) Use of biochar as bulking agent for the compostingof poultry manure: effect on organic matter degradation andhumification. Bioresour Technol 101:1239–1246

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Fellet G, Marchiol L, Vedove D (2011) Application of biochar on mine tailings: Effects and perspectives for land reclamation. Chemosphere 83(9):1262–1267

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Glaser B, Lehmann J, Zech W (2002) Ameliorating physical and chemical properties of highly weathered soils in the tropics with charcoal - a review. Biol Fertil Soils 35(4):219–230

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Gomez J, Denef K, Stewart CE (2014) Biochar addition rate influences soil microbial abundance and activity in temperate soils. Eur J Soil Sci 65(1):28–39

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Guo W, Chen H, Zhang Q (2011) Effects of biochar application on total nitrogen and alkali-hydrolyzable nitrogen content in the topsoil of the high-yield cropland in North China plain. Ecol Environ Sci 20(3):425–428

    Google Scholar 

  13. Han GM, Lan JY, Chen WF (2014) Biochar and its influence on soil environment. J Anhui Agric Sci 31:10941–10943

    Google Scholar 

  14. He CX (2015) The situation, characteristics and effect of the gully reclamation project in Yan’an. J Earth Environ 6:255–260

    Google Scholar 

  15. Hossain MK, Vladimir S, Yin CK (2010) Agronomic properties of wastewater sludge biochar and bioavailability of metals in production of cherry tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). Chemosphere 78(9):1167–1171

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Jin Z (2014) The creation of farmland by gully filling on the loess plateau: a double-edged sword. Environ Sci Technol 48:883–884

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Jones BEH, Haynes RJ, Phillips IR (2010) Effect of amendment of bauxite processing sand with organic materials on its chemical, physical and microbial properties. J Environ Manag 91(11):2281–2288

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Karhu K, Mattila T, Bergström I (2011) Biochar addition to agricultural soil increased CH4 uptake and water holding capacity–results from a short-term pilot field study. Agric Ecosyst Environ 140(1–2):309–313

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Kimetu JM, Lehmann J, Krull E (2010) Stability and stabilisation of biochar and green manure in soil with different organic carbon contents. Soil Research 48(7):577–585

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Laird D, Fleming P, Wang BQ (2010) Biochar impact on nutrient leaching from a Midwestern agricultural soil. Geoderma 158(3):436–442

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Lehmann J, Pereira da Sliva J, Steiner C (2003) Nutrient availability and leaching in an archaeological Anthrosol and a Ferralsol of Central Amazonia: fertilizer, and charcoal amendments. Plant Soil 249(2):343–357

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Li JH, Lv GH, Bai WB, Guo JY, Song JQ, Zhang QZ (2010) Effect of modified biochar on soil nitrogen and available phosphorus leaching. Chin J Agrometeorol 33(2):220–225

    Google Scholar 

  23. Li JZ, Zhang QZ, Lou YL (2015) Effects of biochar addition on nutrient leaching loss of typical tobacco-planting soils in Yunnan Province, China. J Agric Resour Environ 32(1):48–53

    Google Scholar 

  24. Liang B, Lehmann J, Sohi SP (2010) Black carbon affects the cycling of non-black carbon in soil. Org Geochem 41(2):206–213

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Liu H (2014) Effect of biochar on nitrogen loss and greenhouse gas emission from vegetable soil. A dissertationsubmitted to the Zhejiang A&F University for the degree of Master

  26. Liu XH, Zhang XC (2012) Effect of biochar on ph of alkaline soils in the loess plateau: results from incubation experiments. Int J Agric Biol 14(5):745–750

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Liu WJ, Liu Y, Gao XL, Yang W, Wang YH, Dai JY (2012) Effects of biomass charcoals on retention of ammonium nitrogen in soils. J Agro-Environment Sci 32(5):962–968

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Liu Q, Wang YQ, Zhang J, Chen YP (2013) Filling gullies to create farmland on the loess plateau. Environ Sci Technol 47:7589–7590

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. Nguyen BT, Marschner P (2005) Effects of drying and rewetting on phosphorus transformations in red brown soils with different soil organic matter content. Soil Biol Biochem 37:573–1576

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. Parvage MM, Ulén B, Eriksson J (2013) Phosphorus availability in soils amended with wheat residue char. Biol Fertil Soils 49(2):245–250

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Piccolo A, Pietramellara G, Mbagwu JSC (1997) Use of humic substances as soil conditioners to increase aggregate stability. Geoderma 75(3):267–277

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  32. Senesi N, Plaza C (2007) Role of humification processes in recyclingorganic wastes of various nature and sources as soil amendments. CLEAN – Soil, Air, Water 35:26–41

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. Taghizadehtoosi A, Clough TJ, Condron LM (2011) Biochar incorporation into pasture soil suppresses in situ nitrous oxide emissions from ruminant urine patches. J Environ Qual 40(2):468

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. Van Zwiete L, Kimber S, Morris S, Chan K, Downie RJ, Joseph Sand Cowie A (2010) Effects of biochar from slow pyrolysisof papermill waste on agronomic performance and soil fertility. Plant Soil 327:235–246

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. Verheijen FGA, Jeffery S, Bastos AC, et al. (2010) Biochar application to soils - a critical scientific review of effects on soil properties, processes and functions. EUR 24099 EN. Office for the Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, p 149

  36. Wander M, Magdoff F, Ray RW (2004) Soil organic matter fractions and their relevance to soil function. Adv Agroecol 67–102. https://doi.org/10.1201/9780203496374.ch3

  37. Waqas M, Li G, Khan S (2015) Application of sewage sludge and sewage sludge biochar to reduce polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and potentially toxic elements (PTE) accumulation in tomato. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22(16):12114–12123

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. Yao Y, Gao B, Zhang M (2012) Effect of biochar amendment on sorption and leaching of nitrate, ammonia and phosphate in a sandy soil. Chemosphere 89(11):1467–1471

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  39. Yuan J (2011) Progress of the research on the properties of biochars and their influence on soil environmental functions. Ecol Environ Sci 20(4):779–785

    Google Scholar 

  40. Zhang A, Cui LQ, Pan GX (2010) Effect of biochar amendment on yield and methane and nitrous oxide emissions from a rice paddy from tai Lake plain, China. Agric Ecosyst Environ 139(4):469–475

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  41. Zhou ZH, Lee XQ, Xing Y et al (2011) Effect of biochar amendment on nitrogen leaching in soil. Earth Environ 39(2):278–284

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  42. Zwieten LV, Kimber S, Morris S (2010) Effects of biochar from slow pyrolysis of papermill waste on agronomic performance and soil fertility. Plant Soil 327(1–2):235–246

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We appreciate the editors of the journal and the reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions and knowledge.

Funding

National Key Research and Development Project of China (NO:2017YFD0800500).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yi-Ping Chen.

Additional information

Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Su, C., Ma, J. & Chen, Y. Biochar can improve the soil quality of new creation farmland on the Loess Plateau. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 2662–2670 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-3550-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • New creation farmland
  • Biochar
  • Soil physical-chemical properties
  • Loess Plateau