Trees play a pivotal role in the urban environment alleviating the negative impacts of urbanization, and for this reason, local governments have promoted strongly tree planting policies. However, poor soil quality and neglect tree maintenance (e.g., irrigation and fertilization) can seriously mine the plant health status during the tree establishment phase. The use of biochar to provide long-lasting C to the soil and, at the same time, improving soil properties (e.g., improved water holding capacity), soil enzymes activities and NPK concentrations, is a promising research field. Therefore, with a two-step experiment, the study aimed to assay the physiological responses of a commonly used urban tree species (Tilia × europaea L.) to 1.5 % (w/w) biochar amendment (B), and secondly, to assess the ability of trees, grown in biochar amended soil, to tolerate a period of drought. Biochar amendment increased P and K availability in the soil, resulting in higher P and K concentrations in B than control leaves, according to the leaf stage. This induced B trees, higher values in both total biomass than controls (+22 %) in well-watered plants. Moreover, the higher water availability in soil amended with biochar helped B trees to tolerate water stress, with better leaf photosynthetic performances and a faster recovery than stressed controls after the re-watering. This study highlights the dual function of the biochar, improving CO2 sequestration and soil properties, and at the same time, enhancing plant physiological responses to environmental constraints. The use of biochar at the tree planting, especially in an urban environment, is a feasible and environmentally sustainable strategy to improve the success during the tree establishment phase.

Biochar as a soil amendment in the tree establishment phase: What are the consequences for tree physiology, soil quality and carbon sequestration?

Ermes Lo Piccolo
Co-primo
;
Michelangelo Becagli
Co-primo
;
Giulia Lauria;Valentina Cantini;Costanza Ceccanti;Roberto Cardelli;Rossano Massai;Damiano Remorini;Lucia Guidi
Penultimo
;
Marco Landi
Ultimo
2022-01-01

Abstract

Trees play a pivotal role in the urban environment alleviating the negative impacts of urbanization, and for this reason, local governments have promoted strongly tree planting policies. However, poor soil quality and neglect tree maintenance (e.g., irrigation and fertilization) can seriously mine the plant health status during the tree establishment phase. The use of biochar to provide long-lasting C to the soil and, at the same time, improving soil properties (e.g., improved water holding capacity), soil enzymes activities and NPK concentrations, is a promising research field. Therefore, with a two-step experiment, the study aimed to assay the physiological responses of a commonly used urban tree species (Tilia × europaea L.) to 1.5 % (w/w) biochar amendment (B), and secondly, to assess the ability of trees, grown in biochar amended soil, to tolerate a period of drought. Biochar amendment increased P and K availability in the soil, resulting in higher P and K concentrations in B than control leaves, according to the leaf stage. This induced B trees, higher values in both total biomass than controls (+22 %) in well-watered plants. Moreover, the higher water availability in soil amended with biochar helped B trees to tolerate water stress, with better leaf photosynthetic performances and a faster recovery than stressed controls after the re-watering. This study highlights the dual function of the biochar, improving CO2 sequestration and soil properties, and at the same time, enhancing plant physiological responses to environmental constraints. The use of biochar at the tree planting, especially in an urban environment, is a feasible and environmentally sustainable strategy to improve the success during the tree establishment phase.
LO PICCOLO, Ermes; Becagli, Michelangelo; Lauria, Giulia; Cantini, Valentina; Ceccanti, Costanza; Cardelli, Roberto; Massai, Rossano; Remorini, Damiano; Guidi, Lucia; Landi, Marco
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1157300
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