Soil water deficit in karst mountain lands is becoming an issue of concern owing to porous, fissured, and soluble nature of underlying karst bedrock. It is important to identify feasible methods to facilitate soil water preservation in karst mountainous lands. This study aims to seek the possibility of combined utilization of moss colonization and biochar application to reduce evaporation losses in carbonate-derived laterite.
The treatments of the experiments at micro-lysimeter included four moss spore amounts (0, 30, 60, and 90 g·m−2) and four biochar application levels (0, 100, 400, and 700 g·m−3). The dynamics of moss coverage, characteristics of soil surface cracks and surface temperature field were identified. An empirical evaporation model considering the interactive effects of moss colonization and biochar application was proposed and assessed.
Moss colonization reduced significantly the ratio of soil desiccation cracks. Relative cumulative evaporation decreased linearly with increasing moss coverage under four biochar application levels. Biochar application reduced critical moss coverage associated with inhibition of evaporation by 33.26%-44.34%. The empirical evaporation model enabled the calculation of soil evaporation losses under moss colonization and biochar application, with the R2 values ranging from 0.94 to 0.99.
Our result showed that the artificially cultivated moss, which was induced by moss spores and biochar, decreased soil evaporation by reducing soil surface cracks, increasing soil moisture and soil surface temperature.Moss colonization and biochar application has the potential to facilitate soil moisture conservation in karst mountain lands.