Observing novel soil conditioners for carbon emissions mitigation
Purpose – The New Zealand (NZ) Government's commitment to a sustainable, low emissions energy future may be met, in part, by expanding bioenergy systems fuelled by short rotation forestry through utilising lower quality land affecting soil organic matter content and soil CO2 flux. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the carbon sequestration potential of a range of soil conditioners in order to minimise or offset carbon emissions due to ground disturbance. Design/methodology/approach – Seven soil conditioners are evaluated using incubation chambers to measure the affect of their incorporation within three NZ soil types on soil respiration. Findings – Charcoal is found to produce a distinct and significant carbon sequestering trend, as do newspaper and whey. Conversely, vegetable oil, paper mill pulp, biodiesel and methanol showed overall carbon emitting trends. Research limitations/implications – The research is limited as only CO2 is monitored within the incubation chambers rather than the whole gaseous carbon profile. No microbial observations are conducted. Practical implications – The investigation concluded that of the conditioners observed, charcoal, newspaper and whey warrant further observation as carbon sequestration soil conditioners. Originality/value – The paper forms part of the foundations within the development of soil conditioners specifically designed for carbon sequestration.