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Biochar in Soil for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

TitleBiochar in Soil for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsWaters, David, Zwieten Lukas Van, Singh Bhupinder Pal, Downie Adriana, Cowie Annette L., and Lehmann Johannes
JournalSoil Health and Climate Change
VolumeSoil Biology, Volume 29

Biochar technologies have the potential to significantly contribute to climate change mitigation and enhance global food security. Biochar application may improve the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils, reduce fertiliser requirements and stimulate plant growth, though the results vary between biochars, soil types and plant species. The effectiveness of biochar for the improvement of soil properties is influenced by the biomass feedstock and the pyrolysis conditions. Climate change mitigation impacts arise largely from the stabilisation of soil organic matter, the reduction in fertiliser requirements and gaseous emissions in soils, and the production of renewable energy which can displace fossil fuel consumption. However, mechanisms for the observed agronomic and environmental benefits from biochar application are not well understood. Furthermore, to achieve its projected billion-tonne scale (on annual basis) avoided emissions potential, highly efficient and clean processing technologies, using sustainably supplied biomass, need to be implemented globally.