Irrigation of eucalyptus plantation using treated bleached kraft pulp mill effluent

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The use of treated pulp mill effluent on eucalyptus plantation appears to be an attractive option for plant nutrition and water supply. It also constitutes a supplementary treatment process and a final disposal option for the mill effluent. This study aimed at the investigation and evaluation of the effects of bleached kraft pulp mill treated effluent on three typical Brazilian soils used for eucalyptus plantation. The effluent was characterized and five different application rates, defined according to the load of sodium, were tested in controlled environment experiments (greenhouse). After effluent application over a six month period an increase in the salinity of the studied soils was observed, although no soil dispersion was detected. The low content of some nutrients in the treated effluent indicated the need for fertilizer complementation. In general, the best biomass productivity and plant growth results were obtained in fine textured soil at a loading rate of 6.49 t Na ha-1. The good response of the soil-plant system under different effluent application rates showed the feasibility for the eucalyptus irrigation if adequate management practices and monitoring are carried out.

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