In-situ biochar application conserves nutrients while simultaneously mitigating runoff and erosion of an Fe-oxide-enriched tropical soil

Chia Hsing Lee, Chung Chi Wang, Huan Hsuan Lin, Sang Soo Lee, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Shih Hao Jien, Yong Sik Ok

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66 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change gives rise to rapid degradation of rural soils in sloping subtropical and tropical areas and might further threaten environmental sustainability. In this study, we conducted an integrated evaluation of the effects of wood biochar (WB) application mixed with a green waste dreg compost (GWC) on runoff quality, soil losses, and agricultural productivity for a highly weathered tropical soil. A conventional agriculture method, in which soils are treated with anionic polyacrylamide (PAM), was also conducted for comparison. The amounts of runoff and soil loss, and nutrient retention were evaluated a year after WB application. Soil fertility was also investigated through a year pot experiment with rape (Brassica campestris L.) cultivation. Our results showed that the WB application not only effectively increased soil pH, soil organic carbon (SOC) and exchangeable K+ but also increased the production of rape plants. Significant reduction of runoff and the increases of inorganic nitrogen (IN) and total phosphorus (TP) were found in the WB-treated soil. Compared to the control, the co-application of WB and GWC, particularly for the WB at 4%, decreased runoff by 16.8%, soil loss by 25%, and IN loss (via runoff) by 41.8%. Meanwhile, compared to the control and PAM treatments, the co-application of WB and GWC improved soil acidity and the contents of SOC, IN, TP, and exchangeable K+. The co-application of WB and GWC could be an alternative agricultural strategy to obtain benefits to agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-671
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the Ministry of Science and Technology , Republic of China, for financially supporting this research under contract number MOST-103-2313-B-020-007-MY2 and MOST-105-2628-B-020-001-MY2 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Black carbon
  • Charcoal
  • Green waste reuse
  • Multidisciplinary assessment
  • Polyacrylamide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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