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Assessing the potential of using biochar in mine rehabilitation under elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration
journal contributionposted on 2019-07-23, 00:00 authored by Y Zhang, C Menke, B Drigo, Shahla Hosseini BaiShahla Hosseini Bai, I Anderson, Z Xu, H Chen, M Zhang
Purpose: Re-establishment of soil nitrogen (N) capital is a priority in mine rehabilitation. We aimed to evaluate the effects of biochar addition on improving mine spoil N pools and the influence of elevated CO2 concentration on mine rehabilitation. Materials and methods: We assessed the effects of pinewood biochar, produced at three temperatures (650, 750 and 850 °C, referred as B650, B750 and B850, respectively), on mine spoil total N concentrations with five different plant species, including a tree species (Eucalyptus crebra), N-fixing shrubs (Acacia floribunda and Allocasuarina littoralis) and C3 and C4 grasses (Austrodanthonia tenuior and Themeda australis) incubated at ambient (400 μL L−1) and elevated (700 μL L−1) atmospheric CO2 concentrations, as well as the effects of elevated CO2 on mine rehabilitation. Results and discussion: Soil total N significantly improved following biochar incorporation under all plant species (P < 0.05) except for T. Australis. E. crebra had the highest soil total N (0.197%, 0.198% and 0.212% for B650, B750 and B850, respectively). Different from the negligible influence of elevated CO2 on soil properties under the grasses and the N-fixing shrubs, elevated CO2 significantly increased soil water and hot water extractable organic C (WEOC and HWEOC, respectively) and decreased total C under E. crebra, indicating that the nutrient demands were not met. Conclusions: Biochar addition showed the potential in mine rehabilitation in terms of improving soil N pool, especially with E. crebra. However, it would be more difficulty to rehabilitate mine spoils in future with the rising atmospheric CO2 concentration. © 2017, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany.