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Biochar and Sustainable Agriculture



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By Jeff Schahczenski

Published: 2010

Updated: 2010

© NCAT

IP358

12 pages


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Introduction

Biochar has the potential to produce farm-based renewable energy in a climate-friendly manner and provide a valuable soil amendment to enhance crop productivity. If carbon offset markets develop, biochar can provide income for farmers and ranchers who use it to sequester carbon in soil. This publication will review the current research and issues surrounding the production and use of this emerging biomass energy technology and explore how biochar can contribute to sustainable agriculture. Biochar is the product of turning biomass into gas or oil with the intention of adding it to crop and forest production systems as a soil amendment.

Table of Contents

Introduction
What is biochar?
Importance to farmers and ranchers
Increased fertility
Moisture retention
Soil pH balancing
On-farm and community-based bioenergy production
Potential income off sets, fuel and soil amendments
Relationship to climate change and soil carbon sequestration
Limits of biochar and climate change: The fuel-versus-food debate
Summary: The future of biochar for sustainable agriculture
References
Further resources

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This page was last updated on: July 21, 2015