Description of practice

Biochar is produced from pyrolysis (thermal decomposition of biomass in partial or total absence of oxygen) of plant and waste feedstock and is used as a soil amendment. Biochar is a stable solid, rich in carbon and can have benefits for plant growth. Its particle size distribution and carbon storage fertilizer (P, K, S, and Mg only) and liming properties vary.

Examples of how to use biochar Further information
(see Note below)

AMP64 01

Biochar application for carbon sequestration

Biochar is applied every few years to increase carbon sequestration. In order to contribute to climate regulation, the quality of the pyrolysis process, its carbon storage value, application rate and deep incorporation in the soil are important. Improved productivity may avoid future need for further land conversion.


»ETH Zürich
»WOCAT technology 1279
»Journal of Environmental Management - Shaaban et al
»International Biochar Initiative
»Biochar Farms

AMP64 02

Biochar application for land restoration

Biochar is used as a soil amendment for land restoration. It can enhance the cation exchange capacity and absorb nutrients for slow release. Initially it is important to mix biochar with nutrient-rich organic material such as manure or compost. The largest effect on yield is seen on degraded land.


»US Forest Service
»WOCAT technology 1229

AMP64 03

Biochar application for prevention of nutrient leaching and pollution

Biochar is applied to soil to prevent nutrient leaching. It can also raise the pH and reduce problems with aluminum toxicity and heavy metals. However, due to strong sorption of pesticides, increased pesticide concentrations can also build up.


»Advances in Agricultural Science - Chibuike Ezepue et al.

AMP64 04

Biochar application to make dryland agriculture more resilient to drought

Biochar is applied to soils to make dryland agriculture more resilient to water deficiency. Acting over a long period, biochar improves soil moisture and nutrient capacity, activates microorganisms and raises pH.


»Foundation FAR

Note: Most of the Further information links are to a full description of the example in the WOCAT database. However sometimes the link may be to similar practices or a research paper. Occasionally the link is to a commercial product in which case it should be understood that this does not imply any endorsement of the product by iSQAPER.

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