Introduction PDF Print E-mail
Article Index
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8

The recalcitrant nature of charcoal makes biochar rather exceptional. Whether biochar can improve soil quality to the same extent as decomposable organic materials is a valid question. Recent studies showed that soil biochar amendments are indeed capable of increasing soil fertility by improving chemical, biological, and physical properties. Biochar significantly increase plant growth (2, 27) and improve the efficiency of nitrogen fertilizers (27, 28).

 Figure 11 shows sorghum plants growing on mineral fertilized (NPK) soil. The plot to the left got additional biochar amend-ment (11 tons per ha). (Embrapa Research Station, Manaus, Brazil, Photo C. Steiner)

This has important consequences as the synthesis of nitrogen fertilizers consumes large amounts of fossil energy (Figure 3) and the cost of nitrogen fertilizer increases dramatically with increasing energy prices. The effects on soil biology seem to be essential as biochar has the potential to alter the microbial biomass (29) and composition (30) and the microbes are able to change the biochar’s properties (17). The majority of experiments conducted show that biochar soil amendments result in enhancement of beneficial fungi (31) and nitrogen fixing microbes (32). The improved productivity ranges from 20 to 220% at application rates of 0.4 to 8 tons carbon ha-1 (33).

Read about Advantages of Biochar  Carbon Sequestration

< Prev   Next >