Carbon flows of waste biomasses applicable to agricultural soils in Finland

Agriculture, industry and municipalities produce waste biomasses that are not adequately exploited. Carbon (C) andnutrients in the waste biomasses are usually linked and although nutrient flows have been assessed from the global scaleto the farm level, C flows have been studied to a lesser degree. Recycling C from waste biomasses to crop productionhas the potential not only to improve soil productivity, but most importantly also to mitigate climate change. The Csequestration (CS) potential depends not only on the quantity of C but also on the decomposition rate of the Ccompounds in soil.Agrifood waste biomasses have substantial potential for recycling C to crop production based on their volumes, locationand safety. In addition, a large proportion of waste biomass from the paper and pulp industry is exploitable inagricultural soils as organic amendments.

Further Authors:
H. Kahiluoto - MTT Agrifood Research Finland
M. Kuisma - MTT Agrifood Research Finland

This is of interest because the paper and pulp industry is the biggest exploiterof biomass resources in Finland and therefore the volume of waste biomasses produced is high. The CS capacity ofthese biomasses is presumably high also due to the slow decomposition of wood fibre in soil. The examined biomassesare almost all exploited in some way and only little is used as landfill. However exploitation in terms of CS isinadequate.The aim of this study was to assess current C flows (volumes and routes) in waste biomasses that could be applied toagricultural soils in Finland. The results of the study contribute to determining the associated CS potential inagricultural soils. The effects of organic amendments on emissions, soil productivity and replacing fossil inputs in cropproduction are not considered.Data for the C flows were collected from administrative databases and supplemented with additional statistical andprimary data. Data on C quality derives from national and international research literature.This study shows that the C cycle in agrifood waste biomasses is open in Finland. C in organic material is not fullyreturned to crop production and it could be better exploited. The most substantial C flow in the agrifood system isrepresented by manure, which though exploited is done so inadequately in terms of CS when used continuously onanimal farms. Municipal biowastes and sewage sludges are currently mostly used in landscaping. Although CS ispossible, the CS benefits of organic amendments in crop production are not realized. In the paper and pulp industryfibre sludges are mostly disposed of by incineration or landscaping in landfills. Incineration of high moisture biomassesseldom produces any energy, but it could consume energy.Only a small proportion of the examined waste biomasses applicable to agricultural soils (2%) is exploited inagriculture. The annual unexploited C potential is 0.26 Mt in addition to 0.66 Mt of C in manure that is alsoinadequately exploited. The C included in inadequately exploited waste biomasses applicable to agricultural soils is theequivalent of 57% of annual greenhouse gas emissions from the Finnish agriculture sector. Apart from the agrifoodwaste biomasses, fibre sludges from the paper and pulp industry have substantial potential for CS, especially when Cquality is taken into account.Despite the positive effects of C on crop production and the environment, it´s recycling in the agrifood system has notbeen pursued until recent years during which there has been increasing awareness of climate change. This isdemonstrated by the open unexploited flows of waste biomass C. The waste biomasses applicable to agricultural soilsthat originate from outside the agrifood system are overlooked to an even greater extent. Furthermore C quality seemsto be a key parameter when evaluating the potential of CS in soil. Consequently, there is a need for increased understanding of C dynamics when adding various waste biomasses to agricultural soil.

Copyright: © European Compost Network ECN e.V.
Quelle: Orbit 2012 (Juni 2012)
Seiten: 5
Preis inkl. MwSt.: € 5,00
Autor: M.Sc. Juuso Joona
Laura Alakukku

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