Use of Biochar to Improve Selected Soil Chemical Properties, Carbon Storage and Maize Yield in an Ultisol in Abakaliki Ebonyi State, Nigeria

Abstract An experiment was carried out at Teaching and Research Farm of Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources Management, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki to evaluate the effect of biochar on soil chemical properties, carbon storage and maize performance in an Ultisoil in Abakaliki, Southeastern Nigeria. The experiment was laid out in randomized complete block design (RCBD) with four treatments replicated five times. Data collected were analysed using the General Linear Model of SAS software in RCBD and significant difference dictated using F-LSD. Soil samples were collected and analysed for organic carbon, total nitrogen, pH, available P, exchangeable bases and exchangeable acidity while crop performance measured were maize height and maize grain yield. Results of the study showed that biochar amended plots had significant (P < 0.05) higher organic carbon, total nitrogen, pH, available P, exchangeable bases, exchangeable acidity, carbon storage, maize height and maize grain yield than control. Also, there was an increase in the magnitude of the parameters with an increase in the rate of biochar applied. This study recommends that biochar should be used as soil amendments to increase soil productivity and carbon storage in the soil to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere.

KeywordsBiochar, CO2 emissions, Maize yield, Soil productivity

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