Pyrogenic carbon improves the physiological performance of a C3 species planted on a green roof

In: Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution
View More View Less
  • a University of Massachusetts, School for the Environment, Dorchester, MA, USA
  • b Texas Tech University, Department of Biological Sciences, Lubbock, TX, USA

Plants utilizing C3 physiology have a more difficult time establishing in rooftop environments than plants with more heat and drought adapted constitutions, such as species that employ crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). CAM species are much less susceptible to limitations of shallow, infertile soil-less media under abiotic and biotic stress. It is thought that soil amendments might improve rooftop media in a way that allows for C3 species to prosper in rooftop environments. While compost is typically added to media to achieve this goal, we hypothesized that the addition of an anthropogenic pyrogenic carbon (PyC) supplement, instead, would enable better organic and mineral sorption and water retention, resulting in improved physiological performance of C3 species. To test this, we grew a C3 legume species, wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria L R.Br. ex), in control compost-amended media and media amended by PyC on a rooftop in Massachusetts, USA. We found PyC-amended media had greater mean organic and mineral nutrient sorption. We also found 16% greater soil water holding capacity (GWL/ψ g) than control media. In addition, wild indigo photosynthetic intrinsic water use efficiency (iWUE) was significantly increased by 19% when grown in PyC-amended as compared to control media. We conclude that amending green roof media with PyC provides greater benefits than compost amendments for colonization of a C3 legume, wild indigo. Our results gathered over seven years suggest that PyC from converted waste stream cardboard could be used to improve the rooftop performance of other leguminous species, including agricultural crops.

  • Aloisio, J. , Palmer, M. ., Tuininga, A. and J. Lewis (2018). Plant colonization of green roofs is affected by composition of established native plant communities. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 6, 238.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ASTM E2777: Standard Guide for Vegetated Roof Systems (2003). ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, USA.

  • Atkinson, C. , Fitzgerald, J. , and N. Hipps (2010). Potential mechanisms for achieving agricultural benefits from PyC application to temperate soils: a review. Plant Soil, 337(1-2), 118.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bates, A. , Sadler, J. , Greswell, R. , and R. Mackay (2015). Effects of varying organic matter content on the development of green roof vegetation: a six-year experiment. Ecol. Engineer., 82, 301310.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cao, C. , Farrell, C. , Kristiansen, E. and J. Rayner (2014). Biochar makes green roof substrates lighter and improves water supply to plants. Ecol. Engineer., 71: 368374.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carter, M. and E. Gregorich (eds) (2008). Soil sampling and methods of analysis. 2nd ed. Canadian Society of Soil Science, CRC Press and Taylor & Francis Group. Oxford, UK.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chen, H. , Ma, J. , Wei, J. , Gong, X. , Yu, X. , Guo, H. and Y. Zhao (2018). Biochar increases plant growth and alters microbial communities via regulating the moisture and temperature of green roof substrates. Science of The Total Environment, 635, 333342.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Doerr, S. , Santin, C. , Merino, A. , Belcher, C. and G. Baxter (2018). Fire as a removal mechanism of pyrogenic carbon from the environment: effects of fire and pyrogenic carbon characteristics. Front. Earth Sci., 6, 127.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Farquhar, G. , Ehleringer, J. and K. Hubick (1989). Carbon isotope discrimination and photosynthesis. Ann. Rev. Plant Phys. Plant Mol. Biol., 40, 503537.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Flexas, J. , Galmes, J. , Galle, A. , Gulias, A. , Pou, R-C. , Tomas, M. and H. Medrano (2010). Improving water use efficiency in grapevines: potential physiological targets for biotechnological improvements. Aust. J. Grape Wine Res., 16, 106121.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Foster, D. and G. Motzkin (2003). Interpreting and conserving the openland habitat of coastal New England: Insights from landscape history. For. Ecol. Manag., 185: 127150.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Glab, T. , Palmowska, J. , Zaleski, T. and K. Gondek (2016). Effect of biochar application on soil hydrological properties and physical quality of sandy soil. Geoderma, 281, 1120.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gondek, K. , Kopec, M. , Mierzwa, M. , Tabak, M. and M. Chmiel (2014). Chemical and biological properties of composts produced from organic waste. Journal of Elementology, 19(2).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Grzebisz, W. , Gransee, A. , Szczepaniak, W. and J. Diatta (2013). The effects of potassium fertilization on water use efficiency in crop plants. J. Plant Nutrit. Soil Sci., 176, 3: 355374.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ippolito, J. , Stromberger, M. , Lentz, R. and R. Dungan (2014). Hardwood PyC influences calcareous soil physicochemical and microbiological status. J. Envir. Qual., 43: 681689.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jennett, T. and Zheng, Y. (2018). Component characterization and predictive modeling for green roof substrates optimized to adsorb P and improve runoff quality: A review. Environmental Pollution, 237, 988999.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • John, J. , Lundholm, J. and G. Kernaghan (2014). Colonization of green roof plants by mycorrhizal and root endophytic fungi. Ecol. Engineer., 71:651659.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • John, J. , Kernaghan, G. , and J. Lundholm (2017). The potential for mycorrhizae to improve green roof function. Urb. Ecosys., 20(1), 113127.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Johnson, C. , Schweinhart, S. , and I. Buffam (2016). Plant species richness enhances nitrogen retention in green roof plots. Ecol. Applic., 26, 21302144.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Laird, D. , Fleming, P. , Wang, B. , Horton, R. and D. Karlen (2010). Biochar impact on nutrient leaching from a Midwestern agricultural soil. Geoderma, 158(3-4), 436442.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lambers, H. , Chapin, F. and T. Pons (2006). Photosynthesis, respiration and long distance transport. In Plant Physiology Ecology: 1199, Springer, New York.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lenth, R. (2019). emmeans: Estimated Marginal Means, aka Least-Squares Means. R package version 1.3.4. https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=emmeans.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Licht, J. and Lundholm, J. (2006). Native coastal plants for northeastern extensive and semi-intensive green roof trays: substrates, fabrics and plant selection. 4th annual international greening rooftops for sustainable communities conference, Canada: p. 113, ETDE Web.

    • Export Citation
  • Licht, J. , McLaughlin, H. , Burns, C. and F. Shields (2014). Can biochar come to the rescue of coastal barren species? A controlled study reports on the impact of biochar amendment on their survival. Bioresources, 9 (4), 62146226.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Licht, J. , Smith, N. , Mitchell, P. and F. Shields (2017). Impact of lignocellulose and hemicellulose PyCs on soil moisture in low clay soils, J . Plant Nutrit. Soil Sci., Vol 180, 576584.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Licht, J. and N. Smith (2017). Influence of lignocellulose and hemicellulose PyC on photosynthesis and water use efficiency in seedlings of a Northeast U.S. pine-oak ecosystem. J. Sustain. For., 36, 19.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Licht, J. , and N.G. Smith . "Pyrogenic Carbon Increases Pitch Pine Seedling Growth, Soil Moisture Retention and Photosynthetic Intrinsic Water Use Efficiency in the Field." Frontiers in Forests and Global Change 3 (2020): 31.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lim, T. , Spokas, K. , Novak, J. and G. Feyereisen (2016). Predicting the impact of PyC additions on some hydraulic properties. Chemosphere 142: 136144.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lundholm, J. (2006). Green roofs and facades: a habitat template approach. Urban habitats, 4(1), 87101.

  • Lundholm, J. (2015). Green roof plant species diversity improves ecosystem multifunctionality. J. App. Ecol., 52(3):726734.

  • Lundholm, J. and Peck, S. (2008). Introduction: Frontiers of green roof ecology. Urban Ecosystems, 11(4), 335337.

  • MacIvor, J. and Lundholm, J. (2010). Performance evaluation of native plants suited to extensive green roof conditions in a maritime climate. Ecol. Eng., 37, 407417.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McLaughlin, H. , Licht, J. , Smith, N. , Clausen, J. and F. Shields (2016). Cardboard and chipboard biochar—impact on episodic drought and reversing soil contamination. Available at: http://biochar-us.org sites/ default/ files/presentations/ 3.4.4.

  • Mitchell, P. , Simpson, A , Soong, R. and M. Simpson (2016). Biochar amendment altered the molecular-level composition of native soil organic matter in a temperate forest soil. Environ. Chem., 13(5), 854866.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mitchell, M. , Hamilton, T. , Uebel-Niemeier, C. , Hopfensperger, K. and I. Buffam (2013). Nitrogen cycling players and processes in green roof ecosystems. App. Soil Ecol., 132, 114125.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nagase, A. , and Dunnett, N. (2011). The relationship between percentage of organic matter in substrate and plant growth in extensive green roofs. Land Urb. Plan., 103(2), 230236.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nektarios, P. , Amountzias, I. , Kokkinou, I. and N. Ntoulas (2011). Green roof substrate type and depth affect the growth of the native species Dianthus fruticosus under reduced irrigation regimens. HortScience, 46:12081216.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nzana, B. , Marais, D. and P. Soundy (2011). Effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal inoculation and biochar amendment on growth and yield of tomato. Intern. J. Agric., 96122.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • R Core Team (2019). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL https://www.R-project.org/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Starry, O. , Lea-Cox, J. , Kim, J. , and M. Van Iersel (2014). Photosynthesis and water use by two Sedum species in green roof substrate. Envir. Exp. Bot., 107, 105112.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thuring, C. , Berghage, R. , and D. Beattie (2010). Green roof plant responses to different substrate types and depths under various drought conditions. HortTech, 20(2), 395401.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Walters, S. , and Midden, K. (2018). Sustainability of Urban Agriculture: Vegetable Production on Green Roofs. Agriculture, 8(11), 168.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Whittinghill, L. , Rowe, D. , and B. Cregg (2013). Evaluation of vegetable production on extensive green roofs. Agroecol. Sustain. Food Sys., 37(4), 465484.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zong, Y. , Xiao, Q. and S. Lu (2016). Acidity, water retention, and mechanical physical quality of a strongly acidic Ultisol amended with biochars derived from four different feedstocks. J. Soil Sed., 16, 177190.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 65 65 39
Full Text Views 2 2 2
PDF Downloads 0 0 0