Biochar Amendment to Soil for Sustainable Agriculture
The management of surplus lignocellulosic wastes, deteriorating soil quality, food insecurity and changing climate are major issues. The overuse of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers has deteriorated soil natural properties. Therefore, sustainable agriculture based on improvement in soil characteristics is a major requirement to enhance crop productivity. Various soil ameliorant have been proposed for restoring soil health and viability. For instance, biochar produced from plant and animal products improves soil properties. Properties of biochar are influenced by parameters such as type of feedstock material, temperature and residence time.
We review biochar application to soil. First, we evaluate the role of various production conditions such as pyrolysis temperature and feedstock type on biochar characteristics. Then we discuss the following aspects of biochar: habitat modification by biochar application, carbon sequestration, environmental contaminant management, crop productivity, disease management, slow release fertilizers, and risks associated with biochar amendment. Biochar as soil ameliorant leads to reduced greenhouse gas emission, enhanced carbon sequestration, ecological restoration and increased crop productivity. Biochar production for soil amendment is also a good option for waste management and bioenergy production. Another advantage of biochar application to soil is the decreased availability of soil contaminants and improved efficacy of applied agrochemicals.
KeywordsBiochar Carbon sequestration Slow release fertilizer Crop productivity Greenhouse gas Soil amendment
The author is very much thankful to Head, Department of Botany. Thanks and welcomes are also to Eric Lichtfouse for allowing us to write the chapter.
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