Can Albizia Mulch Applied to Agricultural Land Replace Fertilizer, Improve Agroecosystem Functioning, and Provide Climate Change Mitigation and Resilience?
Joanna Norton
UH Hilo, Hilo, Hawaii

Track

IV. Putting Research into Practice for Thriving 'Åina

Abstract

This project investigates the potential benefits of composted albizia (Falcataria moluccana) applied to agricultural land in East Hawai’i.  Application of compost to cropland can supply key nutrients, replacing the need for some synthetic fertilizers; this addition of organic matter to the soil can also sequester carbon, modulate the release of other nutrients, and decrease water stress on plants.  For these reasons, application of compost is considered a climate-smart ag approach; here, we will quantify those effects in local soils, using local inputs.  Albizia is a fast-growing, N-fixing tree that is highly invasive in East Hawai’i, and so this material is in abundant supply and in need of eradication.  This experiment uses cassava and corn in a randomized block design of agricultural plots, and will analyze yields, plant and soil nutrients, and soil water holding capacity to assess performance of composted albizia compared to conventional fertilization. This treatment is a traditional subsistence farming practice, a way of dealing with invasive species, and a potential example of climate-smart agriculture.