Prospects of Biochar for Carbon Sequestration and Livelihood Improvement in the Tibetan Grasslands

  • Muhammad Khalid Rafiq
  • Jamila Sharif
  • Zhanhuan Shang
  • Yanfu Bai
  • Fei Li
  • Ruijun Long
  • Ondřej Mašek


As the key part of HKH, the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau supports the largest population of pastoralists (10 million) in the world. Livestock production on the plateau produces large quantities of dung, but approximately 80% is collected for energy purposes such as cooking and heating needs, which is a link with carbon cycling being a source of carbon to soil and livelihood activity i.e by providing energy and imrpoving grassland productivity. However, inefficient combustion of the dung results in indoor as well as environmental pollution with adverse impact on human health. Heating biomass in oxygen-limited conditions transforms the biomass into bio-oil, syn-gas and a carbon-enriched material known as biochar. Biochar can be used to store carbon in soil and to improve soil quality. This chapter explores the importance of biochar for grasslands restoration and the potential of dung biochar for carbon capture and for increasing grassland productivity. In addition, future biochar research directions to restore grasslands and to improve the livelihood of the pastoralists are discussed.


Alpine grassland Land degradation Biochar Yak dung Soil carbon Grassland productivity HKH region 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Khalid Rafiq
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jamila Sharif
    • 3
  • Zhanhuan Shang
    • 4
  • Yanfu Bai
    • 4
  • Fei Li
    • 4
  • Ruijun Long
    • 4
  • Ondřej Mašek
    • 1
  1. 1.UK Biochar Research CentreSchool of GeoSciences, University of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.Rangeland Research Institute, National Agricultural Research CenterIslamabadPakistan
  3. 3.School of Sociology and PhilosophyLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  4. 4.School of Life Sciences, State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-EcosystemsLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina

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