Biochar is a carbon rich compound, produced from a range of feedstocks, through heating under zero or low oxygen conditions and produced with the intention of application to soil (Verheijen et al. 2010). Biochar has been gaining increasing interest as a potential means of mitigating climate change while concurrently improving soil functioning. Much of the carbon in biochar is in a relatively recalcitrant form and so it cycles very slowly within the soil, particularly when compared to soil organic matter (SOM). The residence time of biochar in soils has been estimated to be in the range of hundreds to thousands of years (Kuzyakov et al. 2009), as opposed to SOM which has a mean residence time measured in decades at the most (Six and Jastrow 2002).
Results of the project will be disseminated in the form or peer review publications, reports and presentations at conferences and this website. Data will be made publically available to ensure transparency and aid in the production of syntheses and meta-analyses.
BASE will use information from an on-going field trail to allow identification of effects occurring following biochar application to soil in a semi-natural grassland. This information will them feed into hypothesis formation and underlying mechanisms will be investigated through the use of controlled micro and mesocosm experiments (see Figure above – click to enlarge).
As a scientist, I am fascinated by the different ways plant species interact belowground. I investigate the complex mechanisms of these interactions among plant species and study the effects of soil biota on these interactions. I also work to upscale these insights regarding root allocation to ecosystem consequences in terms of productivity and nutrient cycling. This is also what I aim to contribute to the biochar projects, SABINE and BASE. Read more →