Effect of Biochar on Ammonification and Nitrification in a Coarse Sandy Soil

  • Author / Creator
    Samborsky, Shawn
  • The addition of biochar to soil is believed to have positive effects on soil nutrient retention. Enhanced cation exchange capacity, water holding capacity and soil aeration are thought to be some of the benefits provided by biochar. In Alberta, reclamation of disturbed sites may be hastened by the addition of soil amendments and biochar is being studied as one possible option. More conventional amendments such as chemical fertilizer, compost, peat and forest floor material have been previously studied and compared in a reclamation setting. The objectives of the work presented in this thesis are to determine the effects of biochar on: 1) the fate of nitrogen applied to a nutrient-deficient, coarse-textured forest soil in the form of both inorganic and organic fertilizers; 2) the biological processes of ammonification and nitrification 3) the physical attributes responsible for nitrogen retention such as sorption of organic nitrogen and ammonium by negatively charged sites. The results of the experiments summarized in this thesis found that biochar reduced nitrogen leaching at an application rate of 25 tonne ha-1 and that biochar increased soil retention of nitrogen fertilizer, however the biological effects of biochar on ammonification and nitrification of soil organic nitrogen, can lead to nitrogen losses from soil, offsetting the increased storage capacity. The alteration of soil biogeochemistry by biochar in this experiment resulted in increased nitrification.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Land Reclamation and Remediation
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • MacKenzie, M Derek (Renewable Resources)
    • Ramirez, Guillermo H (Renewable Resources)