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1. chinaXiv:201605.00541 [pdf]

The priming potential of environmentally weathered pyrogenic carbon during land‐use transition to biomass crop production

Gary J. McClean; Will Meredith; Andrew Cross; Kate V. Heal; Gary D. Bending; Saran P. Sohi
Subjects: Biology >> Botany >> Plant ecology, plant geography

Since land-use change (LUC) to lignocellulosic biomass crops often causes a loss of soil organic carbon (SOC), at least in the short term, this study investigated the potential for pyrogenic carbon (PyC) to ameliorate this effect. Although negative priming has been observed in many studies, most of these are long-term incubation experiments which do not account for the interactions between environmentally weathered PyC and native SOC. Here, the aim was to assess the impact of environmentally weathered PyC on native SOC mineralization at different time points in LUC from arable crops to short rotation coppice (SRC) willow. At eight SRC willow plantations in England, with ages of 3–22 years, soil amended 18–22 months previously with PyC was compared with unamended control soil. Cumulative CO2 flux was measured weekly from incubated soil at 0–5 cm depth, and soil-surface CO2 flux was also measured in the field. For the incubated soil, cumulative CO2 flux was significantly higher from soil containing weathered PyC than the control soil for seven of the eight sites. Across all sites, the mean cumulative CO2 flux was 21% higher from soil incubated with weathered PyC than the control soil. These results indicate the potential for positive priming in the surface 5 cm of soil independent of changes in soil properties following LUC to SRC willow production. However, no net effect on CO2 flux was observed in the field, suggesting this increase in CO2 is offset by a contrasting PyC-induced effect at a different soil depth or that different effects were observed under laboratory and field conditions. Although the mechanisms for these contrasting effects remain unclear, results presented here suggest that PyC does not reduce LUC-induced SOC losses through negative priming, at least for this PyC type and application rate.

submitted time 2016-05-04 Hits7456Downloads255 Comment 0

2. chinaXiv:201605.00530 [pdf]

Initial soil C and land‐use history determine soil C sequestration under perennial bioenergy crops

Rebecca L. Rowe; Aidan M. Keith; Dafydd Elias; Marta Dondini; Pete Smith; Jonathan Oxley; Niall P. McNamara
Subjects: Biology >> Botany >> Plant ecology, plant geography

In the UK and other temperate regions, short rotation coppice (SRC) and Miscanthus x giganteus (Miscanthus) are two of the leading ‘second-generation’ bioenergy crops. Grown specifically as a low-carbon (C) fossil fuel replacement, calculations of the climate mitigation provided by these bioenergy crops rely on accurate data. There are concerns that uncertainty about impacts on soil C stocks of transitions from current agricultural land use to these bioenergy crops could lead to either an under- or overestimate of their climate mitigation potential. Here, for locations across mainland Great Britain (GB), a paired-site approach and a combination of 30-cm- and 1-m-deep soil sampling were used to quantify impacts of bioenergy land-use transitions on soil C stocks in 41 commercial land-use transitions; 12 arable to SRC, 9 grasslands to SRC, 11 arable to Miscanthus and 9 grasslands to Miscanthus. Mean soil C stocks were lower under both bioenergy crops than under the grassland controls but only significant at 0–30 cm. Mean soil C stocks at 0–30 cm were 33.55 ± 7.52 Mg C ha−1 and 26.83 ± 8.08 Mg C ha−1 lower under SRC (P = 0.004) and Miscanthus plantations (P = 0.001), respectively. Differences between bioenergy crops and arable controls were not significant in either the 30-cm or 1-m soil cores and smaller than for transitions from grassland. No correlation was detected between change in soil C stock and bioenergy crop age (time since establishment) or soil texture. Change in soil C stock was, however, negatively correlated with the soil C stock in the original land use. We suggest, therefore, that selection of sites for bioenergy crop establishment with lower soil C stocks, most often under arable land use, is the most likely to result in increased soil C stocks.

submitted time 2016-05-04 Hits434Downloads255 Comment 0

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