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Biochar Impacts on Soil Physical Properties and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Author(s): Atanu Mukherjee | Rattan Lal

Journal: Agronomy (Basel)
ISSN 2073-4395

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 313;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: biochar | green house gas (GHG) emissions | soil amendment | soil physical properties | soil quality

ABSTRACT
Biochar, a co-product of a controlled pyrolysis process, can be used as a tool for sequestering C in soil to offset greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and as a soil amendment. Whereas the impacts of biochar application on soil chemical properties are widely known, the research information on soil physical properties is scarce. The objectives of this review are to (i) synthesize available data on soil physical properties and GHG emissions, (ii) offer possible mechanisms related to the biochar-amended soil processes, and (iii) identify researchable priorities. Application rates of 1%–2% (w/w) of biochar can significantly improve soil physical quality in terms of bulk density (BD), and water holding capacity (WHC). However, little data are available on surface area (SA), aggregation stability, and penetration resistance (PR) of biochar-amended soil. While biochar amendment can initially accentuate the flux of carbon dioxide (CO2), the emission of GHGs may be suppressed over time. A 2-phase complexation hypothesis is proposed regarding the mechanisms of the interaction between soil and biochar.
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