Biochar is charred material formed by the pyrolysis of organic matter. The addition of biochar to soil may offer a chance to mitigate climate change by increasing soil carbon stocks, improving soil fertility and enhancing plant growth. Vast majority of biochar studies are conducted in agricultural soils, and field experiments studying the effect of biochar on tree growth in boreal forests are lacking. We applied spruce biochar amendments of 5 and 10 Mg ha(-1) to the soil surface in young boreal Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forests in Southern Finland and studied the responses in tree growth and needle nitrogen (N) and N-15 concentrations during the first three years after treatment. The biochar amendment of 10 Mg ha(-1) increased the diameter growth of dominant trees significantly, on average by 1 mm year(-1), which corresponded to 25% increase compared to control during the three years study period. The positive growth responses were less pronounced in height than in diameter growth. The biochar amendment of 5 Mg ha(-1) increased the height growth of dominant trees by 0.16 m or 12% compared to the control during three years. Biochar amendments did not affect N and N-15 concentrations in needles. The results suggest that wood biochar amendment can be a climate-friendly method to increase tree biomass production in nutrient poor, xeric, young Scots pine forests.
- 4112 Metsätiede
- 11831 Kasvibiologia