Quantifying the influence of eucalyptus bark and corncob biochars on the physico‑chemical properties of a tropical oxisol under two soil tillage modes


1 Centre d’Étude de la Forêt, Département des sciences du bois et de la Forêt, Université Laval, 2405 rue de la Terrasse, Québec, QC, G1V 0A6, Canada

2 Département du Génie Rural, Faculté d’Agronomie et des Sciences Agricoles, Université de Dschang, B.P. 222, Dschang, Cameroon

3 Centre de Recherche sur les Matériaux Renouvelables, Université Laval, Québec, QC, G1V 0A6, Canada


Purpose This study aimed to assess the impact of two biochars applied at the rate of 15 t ha−1 on physico-chemical parameters of an oxisol in Cameroon.
Method The biochars were made from slow pyrolysis (~300 °C, 4 h) of eucalyptus tree bark and corncobs and then incorporated into the top 15 cm of the soil with or without straw. The soil tillage mode was either fat plots or furrows and ridges. Soil porosity, bulk density, saturated hydraulic conductivity, available water content, pH, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, cation exchange capacity and electrical conductivity were analyzed before biochar application, then 6 and 12 months after.
Results None of the measured soil physical parameters were affected by the presence or type of biochar. The total porosity was lower during the second production period compared to the first, while available water content and van Genuchten parameters increased during the second production period. No significant difference was observed between soil nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, cation exchange capacity and electrical conductivity of control and treated plots.
Conclusion We recommend that straw be pyrolysed and the resulting biochar incorporated into soil instead of burying straw (as is actually done in furrow and ridges tillage mode).