Plant and Soil

, Volume 249, Issue 2, pp 343–357

Nutrient availability and leaching in an archaeological Anthrosol and a Ferralsol of the Central Amazon basin: fertilizer, manure and charcoal amendments

  • Johannes Lehmann
  • Jose Pereira da SilvaJr.
  • Christoph Steiner
  • Thomas Nehls
  • Wolfgang Zech
  • Bruno Glaser
Article

DOI: 10.1023/A:1022833116184

Cite this article as:
Lehmann, J., Pereira da Silva, J., Steiner, C. et al. Plant and Soil (2003) 249: 343. doi:10.1023/A:1022833116184

Abstract

Soil fertility and leaching losses of nutrients were compared between a Fimic Anthrosol and a Xanthic Ferralsol from Central Amazônia. The Anthrosol was a relict soil from pre-Columbian settlements with high organic C containing large proportions of black carbon. It was further tested whether charcoal additions among other organic and inorganic applications could produce similarly fertile soils as these archaeological Anthrosols. In the first experiment, cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) was planted in pots, while in the second experiment lysimeters were used to quantify water and nutrient leaching from soil cropped to rice (Oryza sativa L.). The Anthrosol showed significantly higher P, Ca, Mn, and Zn availability than the Ferralsol increasing biomass production of both cowpea and rice by 38–45% without fertilization (P<0.05). The soil N contents were also higher in the Anthrosol but the wide C-to-N ratios due to high soil C contents led to immobilization of N. Despite the generally high nutrient availability, nutrient leaching was minimal in the Anthrosol, providing an explanation for their sustainable fertility. However, when inorganic nutrients were applied to the Anthrosol, nutrient leaching exceeded the one found in the fertilized Ferralsol. Charcoal additions significantly increased plant growth and nutrition. While N availability in the Ferralsol decreased similar to the Anthrosol, uptake of P, K, Ca, Zn, and Cu by the plants increased with higher charcoal additions. Leaching of applied fertilizer N was significantly reduced by charcoal, and Ca and Mg leaching was delayed. In both the Ferralsol with added charcoal and the Anthrosol, nutrient availability was elevated with the exception of N while nutrient leaching was comparatively low.

charcoal nutrient leaching organic fertilizer Terra Preta de Indio 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Lehmann
    • 1
  • Jose Pereira da SilvaJr.
    • 3
  • Christoph Steiner
    • 2
  • Thomas Nehls
    • 2
  • Wolfgang Zech
    • 2
  • Bruno Glaser
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Crop and Soil SciencesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Soil Science and Soil GeographyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  3. 3.Embrapa Amazônia OcidentalManausBrazil

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