Food demand and soil sustainability have become urgent concerns because of the impacts of global climate change. In subtropical and tropical regions, practical management that stabilizes and prevents organic fertilizers from rapid decomposition in soils is necessary. This study conducted a short-term (70 days) incubation experiment to assess the effects of biochar application on the decomposition of added bagasse compost in three rural soils with different pH values and textures. Two rice hull biochars, produced through slow pyrolization at 400 °C (RHB-400) and 700 °C (RHB-700), with application rates of 1%, 2%, and 4% (w/w), were separately incorporated into soils with and without compost (1% (w/w) application rate). Experimental results indicated that C mineralization rapidly increased at the beginning in all treatments, particularly in those involving 2% and 4% biochar. The biochar addition increased C mineralization by 7.9%-48% in the compost-amended soils after 70 days incubation while the fractions of mineralized C to applied C significantly decreased. Moreover, the estimated maximum of C mineralization amount in soils treated with both compost and biochar were obviously lower than expectation calculated by a double exponential model (two pool model). Based on the micromorphological observation, added compost was wrapped in the soil aggregates formed after biochar application and then may be protected from decomposing by microbes. Co-application of compost with biochar may be more efficient to stabilize and sequester C than individual application into the studied soils, especially for the biochar produced at high pyrolization temperature.
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