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Optimization of biomass and compost management to sustain soil organic matter in energy cane cropping systems in a tropical polluted soil: A modelling study

Sierra J., Chopart J.L., Guindé L., Blazy J.M.. 2016. BioEnergy Research, 9 (3) : p. 798-808.

DOI: 10.1007/s12155-016-9729-z

In French West Indies, the high dependency of the electricity mix on imported fossil fuels has led local authorities to propose the conversion of some land to the production of energy cane. This conversion mainly concerns land polluted by the pesticide chlordecone, where most crops for human consumption have been banned. This molecule has a strong affinity for soil organic matter (SOM). The aims of this study were to assess the impact of crop residue management and compost application on the stocks of SOM and chlordecone in soils cultivated with energy cane and to determine the minimum SOM input required to maintain SOM stocks. A field experiment was conducted to determine the yield and biomass partitioning of energy cane, and laboratory incubations were performed to estimate humification from crop residues. Changes in SOM and chlordecone stocks over a 30-year period were investigated using models already calibrated for the land under study. Non-harvestable biomass left on the field (tops, litterfall and roots) covered >60 % of SOM mineralization. A full offset of mineralization required the return of 10 % of harvestable biomass or the application of compost at a rate of 40 Mg ha-1 every 5 years. With the total removal of harvestable biomass and without compost applications, SOM and chlordecone losses increased by 23 and 13 %, respectively, which was associated with high SOM mineralization and chlordecone leaching under tropical climate. The estimated break-even price for cane biomass indicated that compost application would be more profitable for farmers than the return of a part of the harvestable biomass.

Mots-clés : saccharum officinarum; plante énergétique; biomasse; résidu de récolte; compost; matière organique du sol; sol pollué; chlordécone; lutte antipollution; propriété physicochimique du sol; zone tropicale; modèle mathématique; modèle de simulation; expérimentation au champ; expérimentation en laboratoire; gestion des déchets agricoles; agriculture durable; système de culture; coût; fertilité du sol; antilles françaises; guadeloupe; france

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