Biochar has been heralded a mechanism for carbon sequestration and an ideal amendment for improving soil quality. Melaleuca quinquenervia is an aggressive and wide-spread invasive species in Florida. The purpose of this research was to convert M. quinquenervia biomass into biochar and measure how application at two rates (2% or 5% wt/wt) impacts soil quality, plant growth, and microbial gas flux in a greenhouse experiment using Phaseolus vulgaris L. and local soil.
Plant growth was measured using height, biomass weight, specific leaf area, and root-shoot ratio. Soil quality was evaluated according to nutrient content and water holding capacity. Microbial respiration, as carbon dioxide (CO2), was measured using gas chromatography. Biochar addition at 5% significantly reduced available soil nutrients, while 2% biochar application increased almost all nutrients. Plant biomass was highest in the control group, p2 flux decreased significantly in both biochar groups, but reductions were not long term.