Biochar in portuguese agricultural soils
Published in 24/7/2013
Frank Verheijen and Ana Catarina Bastos coordinate an innovative interdisciplinary joint initiative between research teams lead by Jacob Keizer and Susana Loureiro. Researchers also have the assistance of additional CESAM members. In cooperation with the VITAQUA and CLIMAFUN projects (funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology and the FEDER-COMPETE programme), CESAMs team has begun the first task involving the incorporation of biochar in portuguese agricultural soils.
Biochar has shown potential to improve the productivity of agricultural soils and simultaneously sequester carbon, thus contributing to adaptation and mitigation of climate change. In the Bairrada wine region, Frank Verheijen and Jacob Keizer are assessing the feasibility of using biochar in vineyards to improve infiltration and water retention in the soil, essential in combating stress and water erosion. This study relies on the monitoring of hydrological processes and soil water stress on vines, by the team lead by Gloria Pinto. However, it is necessary to ensure that the quality and function of the soil are not compromised by addition of biochar. In this sense, Ana Catarina Bastos and Susana Loureiro teams' work focuses on selection, adaptation and optimization of ecotoxicological tests using model species for the ecological risk assessment of biochar, as well as its potential use in processes remediation in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
The enormous interest of the general public on this issue is demonstrated by the publication of an article in the national weekly newspaper EXPRESSO (06/22/13 edition).