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Influence of biochar and compost on soil properties and tree growth in a tropical urban environment

  • S. Ghosh
  • L. Fern Ow
  • B. Wilson
Original Paper

Abstract

Research relating to the use of organic amendments on soils has focused largely on agricultural soils, and there is a lack of information worldwide on their efficacy as amendments for urban soil management, especially in tropical urban environments. A pot experiment was conducted to assess the influence of biochar and organic compost on urban soil properties and on tree growth performance in Singapore. Biochar and compost were mixed with topsoil in different proportions, and two urban tree species commonly grown in Singapore (Samanea saman and Suregada multiflora) were used. There were significant additional height increments for both the tree species following application of biochar. S. saman exhibited greater stem elongation compared with S. multiflora in response to organic amendments. A significantly higher foliar N content was found in both tree species in biochar-amended treatments along with significant increases in P and K. Increases in soil nutrient concentrations were also observed in combined biochar–compost treatments for both species. Combined compost and biochar had the strongest effects on soils and growth of the two urban tree species examined and applications containing biochar resulted in the most significant soil improvements.

Keywords

Biochar Compost Urban soil Tropics Samanea saman Suregada multiflora 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The research was supported by Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology (CUGE), National Parks Board, Singapore. We gratefully acknowledge IBI for their assistance to get biochar from Australia. We would also like to thank Ms. Siti Nazurah Ahmad, Mr. Mathana Vinod, Mr. Joshua Anand Mariadass, Mr. Lokman and Ms. Sara Wong for their technical assistance.

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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Urban Greenery and EcologyNational Parks BoardSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.School of Environmental and Rural SciencesUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  3. 3.Office of Environment and HeritageUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia

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