Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Kimberly, Idaho » Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #263790

Title: Biochar Usage: Pros and Cons

item Ippolito, James
item Lentz, Rodrick
item Novak, Jeffrey
item Spokas, Kurt
item Collins, Harold
item STREUBEL, JASON - Washington State University

Submitted to: Western Nutrient Management Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/3/2011
Publication Date: 3/3/2011
Citation: Ippolito, J.A., Lentz, R.D., Novak, J.M., Spokas, K.A., Collins, H.P., Streubel, J. 2011. Biochar Usage: Pros and Cons. Western Nutrient Management Conference Proceedings. 9:93-98.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Soil fertility benefits of charcoal application have been reported as early as 1847 indicating that plant nutrients are sorbed within charcoal pores. The use of biomass-derived black carbon or biochar, the solid byproduct from the pyrolysis processing of any organic feedstock, has garnered recent attention as a potential vehicle for carbon sequestration and a beneficial soil conditioner. However, most of the past biochar research has focused on improving the physico-chemical properties of tropical (i.e. terra preta) and highly weathered soils, while little research has focused on improving arid or semi-arid soils of the USA. Here, we present an overview of the potential benefits and drawbacks of biochar usage in western US agro-ecosystems based on research performed at multiple USDA-Agricultural Research Service locations (Washington, Idaho, Minnesota, and South Carolina).