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Temporal evolution of biochar's impact on soil nitrogen processes: a 15N tracing study

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Abstract
Biochar addition to soils has been proposed as a means to increase soil fertility and carbon sequestration. However, its effect on soil nitrogen (N) cycling and N availability is poorly understood. To gain better insight into the temporal variability of the impact of biochar on gross soil N dynamics, two N-15 tracing experiments, in combination with numerical data analysis, were conducted with soil from a biochar field trial, 1day and 1year after application of a woody biochar type. The results showed accelerated soil N cycling immediately following biochar addition, with increased gross N mineralization (+34%), nitrification (+13%) and ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3-) immobilization rates (+4500% and +511%, respectively). One year after biochar application, the biochar acted as an inert substance with respect to N cycling. In the short term, biochar's labile C fraction and a pH increase can explain stimulated microbial activity, while in the longer term, when the labile C fraction has been mineralized and the pH effect has faded, the accelerating effect of biochar on N cycling ceases. In conclusion, biochar accelerates soil N transformations in the short-term through stimulating soil microbial activity, thereby increasing N bio-availability. This effect is, however, temporary.
Keywords
field trial, gross transformation, Biochar, N-15, immobilization, mineralization, nitrogen, tracing model, FATTY-ACIDS, CARBON, TRANSFORMATIONS, PRODUCTIVITY, METAANALYSIS, QUALITY, NITRATE, FUNGI, MODEL, CROP

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Chicago
Nelissen, Victoria, Tobias Rütting, Dries Huygens, Greet Ruysschaert, and Pascal Boeckx. 2014. “Temporal Evolution of Biochar’s Impact on Soil Nitrogen Processes: a 15N Tracing Study.” Global Change Biology Bioenergy 7 (4): 635–645.
APA
Nelissen, V., Rütting, T., Huygens, D., Ruysschaert, G., & Boeckx, P. (2014). Temporal evolution of biochar’s impact on soil nitrogen processes: a 15N tracing study. GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY BIOENERGY, 7(4), 635–645.
Vancouver
1.
Nelissen V, Rütting T, Huygens D, Ruysschaert G, Boeckx P. Temporal evolution of biochar’s impact on soil nitrogen processes: a 15N tracing study. GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY BIOENERGY. 2014;7(4):635–45.
MLA
Nelissen, Victoria, Tobias Rütting, Dries Huygens, et al. “Temporal Evolution of Biochar’s Impact on Soil Nitrogen Processes: a 15N Tracing Study.” GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY BIOENERGY 7.4 (2014): 635–645. Print.
@article{4250324,
  abstract     = {Biochar addition to soils has been proposed as a means to increase soil fertility and carbon sequestration. However, its effect on soil nitrogen (N) cycling and N availability is poorly understood. To gain better insight into the temporal variability of the impact of biochar on gross soil N dynamics, two N-15 tracing experiments, in combination with numerical data analysis, were conducted with soil from a biochar field trial, 1day and 1year after application of a woody biochar type. The results showed accelerated soil N cycling immediately following biochar addition, with increased gross N mineralization (+34\%), nitrification (+13\%) and ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3-) immobilization rates (+4500\% and +511\%, respectively). One year after biochar application, the biochar acted as an inert substance with respect to N cycling. In the short term, biochar's labile C fraction and a pH increase can explain stimulated microbial activity, while in the longer term, when the labile C fraction has been mineralized and the pH effect has faded, the accelerating effect of biochar on N cycling ceases. In conclusion, biochar accelerates soil N transformations in the short-term through stimulating soil microbial activity, thereby increasing N bio-availability. This effect is, however, temporary.},
  author       = {Nelissen, Victoria and R{\"u}tting, Tobias and Huygens, Dries and Ruysschaert, Greet and Boeckx, Pascal},
  issn         = {1757-1693},
  journal      = {GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY BIOENERGY},
  keyword      = {field trial,gross transformation,Biochar,N-15,immobilization,mineralization,nitrogen,tracing model,FATTY-ACIDS,CARBON,TRANSFORMATIONS,PRODUCTIVITY,METAANALYSIS,QUALITY,NITRATE,FUNGI,MODEL,CROP},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {635--645},
  title        = {Temporal evolution of biochar's impact on soil nitrogen processes: a 15N tracing study},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcbb.12156},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2014},
}

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