Location: Soil Dynamics ResearchTitle: Soil and vegetation responses to amendment with pulverized classified paper waste
|BUSBY, RYAN - Environmental Laboratory, Us Army Engineer Research And Development Center, Waterways Experiment St
|Torbert, Henry - Allen
|Prior, Stephen - Steve
Submitted to: Soil & Tillage Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/3/2019
Publication Date: 8/3/2019
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/6552940
Citation: Busby, R.R., Torbert III, H.A., Prior, S.A. 2019. Soil and vegetation responses to amendment with pulverized classified paper waste. Soil & Tillage Research. 194:104328. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2019.104328.
Interpretive Summary: Large amounts of classified documents are landfilled by the Department of Defense (DoD) since they are pulverized too finely for recycling. This material can help reestablish native warm season perennial grasses on disturbed US military training lands. This study was done at Fort Polk, LA on two of the most common soil types occurring on military training lands. Paper application to soils had no adverse effects. The nutrient poor site showed improved soil physical and chemical properties, while desirable grasses at the fertile site benefitted from nitrogen being tied up. An application rate of 35.9 Mg ha-1 can be recommended to facilitate establishment of desirable native vegetation and soil rehabilitation. This alternative to landfilling paper can reduced costs while supporting rehabilitation of DoD training lands.
Technical Abstract: The United States Army produces a significant amount of classified paper waste that is pulverized to a fine consistency unsuitable for recycling. However, cheap, high quality organic materials such as classified paper waste are useful as soil amendments. The objective of this research was to evaluate the utilization of pulverized classified paper waste as a soil amendment to improve soil health and increase establishment of desirable native grasses on degraded Army training lands. Extensive analysis showed very low levels of regulated contaminants in the paper, but most were below detection limits. Paper was applied at varying rates to two soil types at Fort Polk, LA: an alfisol (very fine sandy loam - Fine, smectitic, thermic Chromic Vertic Hapludalfs) and an ultisol (loamy fine sandy - Loamy, siliceous, semiactive, thermic Arenic Paleudults). These are common soil orders found on military training lands and represent fertile (alfisol) and unfertile (ulitsol) soils. Vegetation and soils were monitored over 2 growing seasons. No increase in heavy metals were observed in soils. The nutrient poor site showed improved soil physical and chemical properties, while desirable vegetation benefitted from nutrient immobilization at the fertile site. Based on the results of this study, applying pulverized paper waste to soil at a rate of 35.9 Mg ha-1 is recommended. Application of paper waste to soils had no adverse environmental effects, improved soil physiochemical properties, and facilitated establishment of desirable native vegetation.