Cole Gross | RENR PhD Defense Seminar

Date(s) - 09/08/2022
8:00 am - 9:00 am

A graduate seminar is a presentation of the student’s final research project for their degree.

This is a RENR PhD final exam seminar for Cole Gross.  This seminar is open to the general public to attend.

Zoom link:

Thesis Topic: Agroforestry and Biochar for Climate Change Mitigation: Carbon Storage, Soil Carbon Cycling, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Abstract: Agroforestry systems (AFS) and the application of organic amendments in croplands can contribute to carbon (C) sequestration and reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agricultural lands. However, previously understudied differences among AFS and organic amendments may underestimate their climate change mitigation potential. My findings from a 3-year field study and an incubation experiment are threefold: (1) AFS are important for fostering C sequestration and reducing GHG emissions and, in particular, retaining hedgerows (legacy woodland) and their associated deadwood across temperate agroecosystems is key to help mitigate climate change; (2) the application of biochar, rather than its manure compost feedstock, increased soil C sequestration and had either no effect on or reduced GHG emissions relative to the control; and (3) living roots can destabilize clay-protected C within siltsize microaggregates, leading to rapid and preferential decomposition of clay-protected C; however, biochar can stabilize clay-protected C within silt-size microaggregates under the influence of living roots. To help meet climate change mitigation goals, I recommend incentivizing the retention and establishment of AFS on agricultural lands, as well as supporting and optimizing biochar application in agriculture.