Title

Assessing the effects of biochar amendments on plant growth and nutrient cycling in Montana top soil

Presenter Information

Erika J. Foster

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

This project examines the effects of biochar application rates on soil properties and plant growth in a Missoula topsoil. Recent research delves into the many possible uses of biochar, from agriculture to soil reclamation and restoration projects. In Idaho and Montana portable biochar burners have been transported to timber harvest sites. The unusable slash piles can be burned through a pyrolysis process, creating biochar, a fine porous charcoal-like substance that attracts and sorbs water and nutrients. When added to soil, biochar makes these substances readily available for plant uptake, which has potential uses for facilitating native plant establishment and growth. This investigation focuses on the effects of biochar on two common species native to western Montana, Pseudoroegneria spicata (bluebunch wheatgrass) and Lupinus albifrons (silvery lupine) and one exotic invasive species, Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed). A treatment of 0%, 5% and 15% (v/v) biochar was mixed into the soil and the seeds planted and monitored over a two month period. The assessment includes measuring final above and below ground plant biomass and examining soil properties, including pH, soil organic and inorganic nitrogen content, microbial biomass and water holding capacity. The results provide information to those involved in forest management and restoration who are interested in strategies for enhancing soil quality and native plant growth.

Category

Social Sciences

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 13th, 2:00 PM Apr 13th, 2:20 PM

Assessing the effects of biochar amendments on plant growth and nutrient cycling in Montana top soil

UC 330

This project examines the effects of biochar application rates on soil properties and plant growth in a Missoula topsoil. Recent research delves into the many possible uses of biochar, from agriculture to soil reclamation and restoration projects. In Idaho and Montana portable biochar burners have been transported to timber harvest sites. The unusable slash piles can be burned through a pyrolysis process, creating biochar, a fine porous charcoal-like substance that attracts and sorbs water and nutrients. When added to soil, biochar makes these substances readily available for plant uptake, which has potential uses for facilitating native plant establishment and growth. This investigation focuses on the effects of biochar on two common species native to western Montana, Pseudoroegneria spicata (bluebunch wheatgrass) and Lupinus albifrons (silvery lupine) and one exotic invasive species, Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed). A treatment of 0%, 5% and 15% (v/v) biochar was mixed into the soil and the seeds planted and monitored over a two month period. The assessment includes measuring final above and below ground plant biomass and examining soil properties, including pH, soil organic and inorganic nitrogen content, microbial biomass and water holding capacity. The results provide information to those involved in forest management and restoration who are interested in strategies for enhancing soil quality and native plant growth.