Biochar as a Soil Amendment for Revitalizing Stockpiled Soils and Carbon Sequestration at an Oilsands Lease, Christina Lake, Alberta

Working in partnership with MEG Energy Ltd, the Applied Research Group in Natural Resource Technology at Saskatchewan Polytechnic will examine biochar’s role in revitalizing stockpiled soils by conducting a three-year assessment of black spruce growth and survival on a disturbed borrow pit site. Biochar is highly regarded for its ability to increase soil productivity due to high carbon content, organic matter volume, porosity, recalcitrance, and adsorptive characteristics. These qualities permit improved soil health through various pathways including the ability to selectively make-up for nutrient and microbial deficiencies through biochar inoculation. The research will assess twenty different control and experimental treatments involving various combinations of nutrient and microbe inoculants and microhabitat adjustments. Progress in soil revitalization research is likely to have significant bearing on the environmental sustainability of oilsands development in the western boreal forest.

Amanda Ashdown;Lu Zhang
Faculty Supervisor: 
David Halstead;Susan Blum
Partner University: