Biochar increases soil water content and total organic carbon but has no effects on soil respiration in a Regosol of Caatinga

José Romualdo de Sousa Lima, Jéssica Emanuella da Silva Oliveira, Claude Hammecker, Gustavo Pereira Duda, Érika Valente de Medeiros, Antonio Celso Dantas Antonino, Rodolfo Marcondes Silva Souza, Eduardo Soares de Souza


Soil respiration (Rs) is the largest flux of CO2 emission from terrestrial ecosystems and an important component of global carbon balance. Small variations in Rs can promote large alterations on atmospheric CO2 concentration, it is therefore necessary to find management practices that reduce Rs and increase total organic carbon (TOC). Biochar application has been proposed as an effective measure to reach this aim. Thus, several studies measured the effect of biochar on Rs in different ecosystems; however, none was made in sandy soils of Brazilian tropical dry forest, namely Caatinga biome. We assess Rs, TOC and soil water content (SWC) from a Regosol in Caatinga in response to biochar addition. A greenhouse pot experiment, quantifying the Rs, SWC and TOC, no (B0) and with 20 t ha-1 biochar (B20) and two hydric conditions of soil (dry and wet soil) was conducted. B20 had higher TOC and SWC. There was a seasonal variation of Rs, with wet soil having higher Rs than dry soil; however biochar had no effects on Rs. This is a significant finding considering that biochar addition does not increase Rs and, hence, confirms its’ high potential to mitigate climate and land use changes in sandy soils of Caatinga biome.


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