Plant and Soil

, Volume 337, Issue 1–2, pp 1–18 | Cite as

Potential mechanisms for achieving agricultural benefits from biochar application to temperate soils: a review

  • Christopher J. AtkinsonEmail author
  • Jean D. Fitzgerald
  • Neil A. Hipps
Marschner Review


Natural organic biomass burning creates black carbon which forms a considerable proportion of the soil’s organic carbon. Due to black carbon’s aromatic structure it is recalcitrant and has the potential for long-term carbon sequestration in soil. Soils within the Amazon-basin contain numerous sites where the ‘dark earth of the Indians’ (Terra preta de Indio, or Amazonian Dark Earths (ADE)) exist and are composed of variable quantities of highly stable organic black carbon waste (‘biochar’). The apparent high agronomic fertility of these sites, relative to tropical soils in general, has attracted interest. Biochars can be produced by ‘baking’ organic matter under low oxygen (‘pyrolysis’). The quantities of key mineral elements within these biochars can be directly related to the levels of these components in the feedstock prior to burning. Their incorporation in soils influences soil structure, texture, porosity, particle size distribution and density. The molecular structure of biochars shows a high degree of chemical and microbial stability. A key physical feature of most biochars is their highly porous structure and large surface area. This structure can provide refugia for beneficial soil micro-organisms such as mycorrhizae and bacteria, and influences the binding of important nutritive cations and anions. This binding can enhance the availability of macro-nutrients such as N and P. Other biochar soil changes include alkalisation of soil pH and increases in electrical conductivity (EC) and cation exchange capacity (CEC). Ammonium leaching has been shown to be reduced, along with N2O soil emissions. There may also be reductions in soil mechanical impedance. Terra preta soils contain a higher number of ‘operational taxonomic units’ and have highly distinctive microbial communities relative to neighbouring soils. The potential importance of biochar soil incorporation on mycorrhizal fungi has also been noted with biochar providing a physical niche devoid of fungal grazers. Improvements in soil field capacity have been recorded upon biochar additions. Evidence shows that bioavailability and plant uptake of key nutrients increases in response to biochar application, particularly when in the presence of added nutrients. Depending on the quantity of biochar added to soil significant improvements in plant productivity have been achieved, but these reports derive predominantly from studies in the tropics. As yet there is limited critical analysis of possible agricultural impacts of biochar application in temperate regions, nor on the likelihood of utilising such soils as long-term sites for carbon sequestration. This review aims to determine the extent to which inferences of experience mostly from tropical regions could be extrapolated to temperate soils and to suggest areas requiring study.


Biochar Black carbon Biochar Carbon sequestration Charcoal Climate change 



Financial support for this study was provided by The East Malling Trust and South East England Development Agency (SEEDA). We are also extremely grateful to the editor and anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on earlier drafts and to all the many authors who made available copies of their recently published work.


  1. Alexis MA, Rasse DP, Rumpel C, Bardoux G, Pechot N, Schmalzer P, Drake B, Mariotti A (2007) Fire impact on C and N losses and charcoal production in a scrub oak ecosystem. Biogeochemistry 82:201–216Google Scholar
  2. Allen MF (2007) Mycorrhizal fungi: highways for water and nutrient movement in arid soils. Vadose Zone J 6:291–297Google Scholar
  3. Amonette JE, Joseph S (2009) Characteristics of biochar: microchemical properties. Chapter 3. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environmental management science and technology. Earthscan, London, pp 33–52Google Scholar
  4. Ansley RJ, Boutton TW, Skjemstad JO (2006) Soil organic carbon and black carbon storage and dynamics under different fire regimes and temperate mixed-grass savanna. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 20:GB3006Google Scholar
  5. Asai H, Samson BK, Stephan HM, Songyikhangsuthor K, Inoue Y, Shiraiwa T, Horie T (2009) Biochar amendment techniques for upland rice production in Northern Laos: soil physical properties, leaf SPAD and grain yield. Field Crops Res 111:81–84Google Scholar
  6. Bagreev A, Bandosz TJ, Locke DC (2001) Pore structure and surface chemistry of adsorbents obtained by pyrolysis of sewage sludge-derived fertilizer. Carbon 39:1971–1979Google Scholar
  7. Baldock JA, Smernik RJ (2002) Chemical composition and bioavailability of thermally altered Pinus resinosa (Red pine) wood. Org Geochem 33:1093–1109Google Scholar
  8. Bates BC, Kundzewicz ZW, Wu S, Palutikof JP (eds) (2008) Climate change and water. Technical Paper of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC Secretariat, Geneva, 210 pGoogle Scholar
  9. Berglund LM, DeLuca TH, Zackrisson TH (2004) Activated carbon amendments of soil alters nitrification rates in Scots pine forests. Soil Biol Biochem 36:2067–2073Google Scholar
  10. Blackwell P, Riethmuller G, Collins M (2009) Biochar application for soil. Chapter 12. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environmental management science and technology. Earthscan, London, pp 207–226Google Scholar
  11. Bond WJ, Keeley J (2005) Fire as a global ‘herbivore’: the ecology and evolution of flammable ecosystems. Trends Ecol Evol 20:387–394PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Bornemann LC, Kookana RS, Welp G (2007) Differential sorption behaviour of aromatic hydrocarbons on charcoals prepared at different temperatures from grass and wood. Chemosphere 67:1033–1204PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Bowman DMJS (1998) The impact of Aboriginal landscape burning on the Australian biota. New Phytol 140:385–410Google Scholar
  14. Bridle TR, Pritchard D (2004) Energy and nutrient recovery from sewage sludge via pyrolysis. Water Sci Technol 50:169–175PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Busscher WJ, Novak JM, Evans DE, Watts DW, Niandou MAS, Ahmedna M (2010) Influence of pecan biochar on physical properties of Norfolk loamy sand. Soil Sci 175:10–44Google Scholar
  16. Chan KY, Xu Z (2009) Biochar: nutrient properties and their enhancement. Chapter 5. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environmental management science and technology. Earthscan, London, pp 67–84Google Scholar
  17. Chan KY, Van Zwieten L, Meszaros I, Downie A, Joseph S (2007) Agronomic values of green waste biochar as a soil amendment. Aust J Soil Res 45:629–634Google Scholar
  18. Chan KY, Van Zwieten L, Meszaros I, Downie A, Joseph S (2008) Using poultry litter biochars as soil amendments. Aust J Soil Res 46:437–444Google Scholar
  19. Cheng C-H, Lehmann J (2009) Ageing of black carbon along a temperature gradient. Chemosphere 75:1021–1027PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Cheng C-H, Lehmann J, Thies JE, Burton SD, Engelhard MH (2006) Oxidation of black carbon by biotic and abiotic processes. Org Geochem 37:1477–1488Google Scholar
  21. Cheng C-H, Lehmann J, Engelhard MH (2008a) Natural oxidation of black carbon in soils: changes in molecular form and surface change along a climosequence. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 72:1598–1610Google Scholar
  22. Cheng C-H, Lehmann J, Thies JE, Burton SD (2008b) Stability of black carbon in soils across a climatic gradient. J Geophys Res 113:G02027Google Scholar
  23. Clarholm M (1994) Granulated wood ash and a ‘N-free’ fertilizer to forest soil: effects on P availability. For Ecol Manage 66:127–136Google Scholar
  24. Clement CR, McCann JM, Smith NJH (2003) Agrobiodiversity in Amazonia and its relationship with dark earths. Chapter 9. In: Lehmann J, Kern DC, Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian dark earths origin properties management. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 159–178Google Scholar
  25. Covington WW, Sackett SS (1992) Soil mineral nitrogen changes following prescribed burning in ponderosa pine. For Ecol Manage 54:175–191Google Scholar
  26. Dai X, Boutton TW, Glaser B, Ansley RJ, Zech W (2005) Black carbon in temperate mixed-grass savanna. Soil Biol Biochem 37:1879–1881Google Scholar
  27. Daud WMAW, Ali WSW, Sulaiman MZ (2001) Effect of carbonization temperature on the yield and porosity of char produced from palm shell. J Chem Technol Biotechnol 76:1281–1285Google Scholar
  28. Dazzo FB, Brill WJ (1978) Regulation by fixed nitrogen of host-symbiont recognition in the Rhizobium-clover symbiosis. Plant Physiol 62:18–21PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. DeLuca TH, MacKenzie MD, Gundale MJ Holben WE (2006) Wildfire-produced charcoal directly influences nitrogen cycling in Ponderosa pine forests. Soil Sci Soc Am J 70:448–453Google Scholar
  30. DeLuca TH, MacKenzie MD, Gundale MJ (2009) Biochar effects on soil nutrient transformation. Chapter 14. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environmental management science and technology. Earthscan, London, pp 251–280Google Scholar
  31. Demirbas A (2001) Carbonization ranking of selected biomass for charcoal, liquid and gaseous products. Energy Convers Manage 42:1229–1238Google Scholar
  32. Denevan WM (1996) A bluff model of riverine settlement in prehistoric Amazonia. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 86:654–681Google Scholar
  33. Downie A, Crosky A, Munroe P (2009) Physical properties of biochar. Chapter 2. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environmental management science and technology. Earthscan, London, pp 13–32Google Scholar
  34. Erickson C (2009) Historical ecology and future explorations. Chapter 23. In: Lehmann J, Kern DC, Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian dark earths origin properties management. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 455–502Google Scholar
  35. FAO (1985) Industrial charcoal making, FAO Forestry Research Paper 63. FAO, Rome ItalyGoogle Scholar
  36. Field CB, Randerson JT, Malmstrom CM (1995) Global net primary production: combining ecology and remote sensing. Remote Sens Environ 51:74–88Google Scholar
  37. Field CB, Behrenfeld MJ, Randerson JT, Falkowski P (1998) Primary production of the biosphere: integrating terrestrial and oceanic components. Science 281:237–240PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Garcia-Montiel DC, Neill C, Melillo J, Thomas S, Stuedler PA, Cerri CC (2000) Soil phosphorus transformations following forest clearing for pasture in the Brazilian Amazon. Soil Sci Soc Am J 64:1792–1804Google Scholar
  39. Gaunt J, Lehmann J (2008) Energy balance and emission associated with biochar sequestration and pyrolysis bioenergy production. Environ Sci Technol 42:4152–4158PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Glaser B, Amelung W (2003) Pyrogenic carbon in native grassland soils along a climosequence in North America. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 17:1064. doi: 10.1029/2002GB002019 Google Scholar
  41. Glaser B, Balashov E, Haumaier L, Guggenberger G, Zech W (2000) Black carbon in density fractions of anthropogenic soils of the Brazilian Amazon region. Org Geochem 31:669–678Google Scholar
  42. Glaser B, Haumaier L, Guggenberger G, Zech W (2001) The ‘Terra Preta’ phenomenon: a model for sustainable agriculture in the humid tropics. Naturwissenschaften 88:37–41PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Glaser B, Lehmann J, Zech W (2002) Ameliorating physical and chemical properties of highly weathered soils in the tropics with charcoal—a review. Biol Fertil Soils 35:219–230Google Scholar
  44. Glaser B, Guggenberger G, Zech W, de Lourdes Ruivo M (2003) Soil organic matter stability in Amazonian dark earths. Chapter 8. In: Lehmann J, Kern DC, Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian dark earths origin properties management. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 141–158Google Scholar
  45. Graber ER, Hadas E (2009) Potential energy generation and carbon savings from waste biomass pyrolysis in Israel. Ann Environ Sci 3:207–216Google Scholar
  46. Gundale MJ, DeLuca TH (2006) Temperature and source material influence ecological attributes of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir charcoal. For Ecol Manage 231:86–93Google Scholar
  47. Gundale MJ, DeLuca TH (2007) Charcoal effects on soil solution chemistry and growth of Koeleria macrantha in the ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir ecosystem. Biol Fertil Soils 43:303–311Google Scholar
  48. Hamer U, Marschner B, Bordowski S, Amelung W (2004) Interactive priming of black carbon and glucose mineralisation. Org Geochem 35:823–830Google Scholar
  49. Hammes K, Schmidt MWI (2009) Changes in biochar in soil. Chapter 10. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environmental management science and technology. Earthscan, London, pp 169–182Google Scholar
  50. Hammes K, Torn MS, Lapenas AP, Schmidt MWI (2008) Centennial black carbon turnover observed in a Russian steppe soil. Biogeosciences Discussion 5:661–683Google Scholar
  51. Hart JL, Van de Gevel SL, Mann DF (2007) Legacy of charcoaling in a western highland rim forest in Tennessee. Am Midl Nat 159:238–250Google Scholar
  52. Hartt CF (1885). Contribuicao para a ethnologia do Valle do Amazonas II. Taperinha e os sitios dos moradores dos altos. Archivos do Museu Nacional do Rio de Janerio 6:10–14Google Scholar
  53. Hilber I, Wyss GS, Mäder P, Bucheli TD, Meier I, Vogt L, Schulin R (2009) Influence of activated charcoal amendment to contaminated soil on dieldrin and nutrient uptake by cucumbers. Environ Pollut 157:224–2230Google Scholar
  54. Hua L, Wu W, Liu Y, McBride MB, Chen Y (2009) Reduction of nitrogen loss and Cu and Zn mobility during sludge composting with bamboo charcoal amendment. Environ Sci Pollut Res 16:1–9Google Scholar
  55. Ishii T, Kadoya K (1994) Effects of charcoal as a soil conditioner on citrus growth and vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal development. Journal of Japanese Society of Horticultural Science 63:529–535Google Scholar
  56. Jenkinson DS, Ayanaba A (1977) Decomposition of carbon-14 labelled plant material under tropical conditions. Soil Sci Soc Am J 41:912–915Google Scholar
  57. Kern DC, D’Aquino G, Rodrigues ET, Frazao FJL, Sombroek W, Myers TP, Neves EG (2003) Chapter 4. In: Lehmann J, Kern DC, Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian dark earths origin properties management. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 51–75Google Scholar
  58. Kim J-S, Sparovek G, Long RM, De Melo WJ, Crowley D (2007) Bacterial diversity of terra preta and pristine forest soil from the Western Amazon. Soil Biol Biochem 39:684–690Google Scholar
  59. Kimetu JM, Lehmann J, Ngoze SO, Mugendi DN, Kinyangi JM, Riha S, Verchot L, Recha JW, Pell AN (2008) Reversibility of soil productivity decline with organic matter of differing quality along a degradation gradient. Ecosystems 11:726–739Google Scholar
  60. Kimura R, Nishio M (1989) Contribution of soil microorganism to utilisation of insoluble soil phosphorus by plants in grasslands. In: Proceedings, 3rd Grassland Ecology Conference, Banska Bystrica, Czechoslovakia, pp 10–17Google Scholar
  61. Krull ES, Baldock JA, Skjemstad JO, Smernik RJ (2009) Characteristics of biochar: organo-chemical properties. Chapter 4. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environmental management science and technology. Earthscan, London, pp 53–65Google Scholar
  62. Kuhlbusch TAJ (1998) Black carbon and the carbon cycle. Science 280:1903–1904Google Scholar
  63. Kuhlbusch TAJ, Andreae MO, Cachier H, Goldammer JG, Lacaux JP, Shea R, Crutzen PJ (1996) Black carbon formation by savanna fires: measurements and implication for the global carbon cycle. J Geophys Res Atmos 101:23651–23665Google Scholar
  64. Kwon S, Pignatello JJ (2005) Effects of natural organic substances on the surface and adsorptive properties of environmental black carbon (char): pseudo pore blockage by model lipid components and its implications for N2-probed surface properties of natural sorbents. Environ Sci Technol 39:7932–7939PubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Laird DA (2008) The charcoal vision: a win-win-win scenario for simultaneously producing bio-energy, permanently sequestering carbon, while improving soil and water quality. Agron J 100:178–181Google Scholar
  66. Lal R (2004) Soil carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change. Geoderma 123:1–22Google Scholar
  67. Lal R (2008) Carbon sequestration. Philos Trans R Soc 363:815–830Google Scholar
  68. Lehmann J (2009) Biological carbon sequestration must and can be a win-win approach. Clim Change 97:459–463Google Scholar
  69. Lehmann J, Rondon MA (2005) Bio-char soil management on highly weathered soil in the humid tropics’. Chapter 36. In: Uphoff N (ed) Biological approaches to sustainable soil systems. CRC, Boca Raton, pp 517–530Google Scholar
  70. Lehmann J, da Silva Jr JP, Rondon M, Cravo MS, Greenwood J, Nehls T, Steiner C, Glaser B (2002). Slash and char—a feasible alternative for soil fertility management in the central Amazon? Proceedings of the 17th World Congress of Soil Science Bangkok, Thailand. Paper no 449Google Scholar
  71. Lehmann J, da Silva Jr JP, Steiner C, Nehls T, Zech W, Glaser B (2003a) Nutrient availability and leaching in an archaeological Anthrosol and Ferralsol of the Central Amazon basin: fertilizer, manure and charcoal amendments. Plant Soil 249:343–357Google Scholar
  72. Lehmann J, Kern D, German L, McCann J, Martins GC, Moreira L (2003b) Soil fertility and production potential. Chapter 6. In: Lehmann J, Kern DC, Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian dark earths: origin, properties, management. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 105–124Google Scholar
  73. Lehmann J, Gaunt J, Rondon M (2005) Biochar sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems—a review. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 11:403–427Google Scholar
  74. Lehmann J, Czimczik C, Laird D, Sohi S (2009) Stability of biochar in the soil. Chapter 11. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environmental management science and technology. Earthscan, London, pp 183–205Google Scholar
  75. Leifeld J, Fenner S, Muller M (2007) Mobility of black carbon in drained peatland soils. Biogeosciences 4:425–432Google Scholar
  76. Liang B, Lehmann J, Solomon D, Kinyangi J, Grossman J, O’Neill B, Skjemstad JO, Thies J, Luizao FJ, Peterson J, Neves EG (2006) Black carbon increases cation exchange capacity in soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 70:1719–1730Google Scholar
  77. Liang B, Lehmann J, Solomon D, Sohi S, Thies JE, Skjemstad JO, Luizao FJ, Engelhard MH, Neves EG, Wirick S (2008) Stability of biomass-derived black carbon in soils. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 72:6069–6078Google Scholar
  78. Lima IM, Marshall WE (2005) Granular activated carbons from broiler manure: physical, chemical and adsorptive properties. Bioresour Technol 96:699–706PubMedGoogle Scholar
  79. Lua AC, Yang T (2004) Effects of vacuum pyrolysis conditions on the characteristics of activated carbons derived from pistachio-nut shells. J Colloid Interface Sci 276:364–372PubMedGoogle Scholar
  80. Magrini-Bair KA, Czernik S, Pilath HM, Evans RJ, Maness PC, Leventhal J (2009) Biomass derived, carbon sequestration, designed fertilizers. Ann Environ Sci 3:217–225Google Scholar
  81. Mahmood S, Finlay RD, Fransson A-M, Wallander H (2003) Effects of hardened wood ash on microbial activity, plant growth and nutrient uptake by ectomycorrhiza spruce seedlings. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 43:121–131PubMedGoogle Scholar
  82. Maia SMF, Ogle SM, Cerri CC, Cerri CEP (2010) Changes in soil organic storage under different agricultural management systems in the Southwest Amazon Region of Brazil. Soil Tillage Res 106:177–184Google Scholar
  83. Major J, DiTommaso A, German LA, McCann JM (2003) Weed population dynamics and management on Amazonian dark earth. Chapter 22. In: Lehmann J, Kern DC, Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian dark earths origin properties management. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 125–139Google Scholar
  84. Major J, Steiner C, DiTommaso A, Falco NPS, Lehmann J (2005) Weed composition and d cover after three years of soil fertility management in the central Brazilian Amazon: compos, fertilizer, manures and charcoal applications. Weed Biology and Management 5:69–76Google Scholar
  85. Major J, Steiner C, Downie A, Lehmann J (2009) Biochar effects on nutrient leaching. Chapter 15. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environmental management science and technology. Earthscan, London, pp 271–287Google Scholar
  86. Major J, Lehmann J, Rondon M, Goodale C (2010a) Fate of soil-applied black carbon: downward migration, leaching and soil respiration. Glob chang Biol 16:1366–1379Google Scholar
  87. Major J, Rondon M, Molina D, Riha SJ, Lehmann J (2010b) Maize yield and nutrition during 4 years after biochar application to a Colombian savanna oxisol. Plant and Soil (in press)Google Scholar
  88. Mann CC (2002) The real dirt on rain forest fertility. Science 297:920–923PubMedGoogle Scholar
  89. Marris M (2006) Black is the new green. Nature 442:624–626PubMedGoogle Scholar
  90. Matsubara Y-I, Hasegawa N, Fukui H (2002) Incidence of Fusarium root rot in asparagus seedlings infected with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus as affected by several soil amendments. Journal of the Japanese Society of Horticultural Science 71:371–374Google Scholar
  91. McKay D, Rostain S, Iriate J, Glaser B, Birk JJ, Holst I, Renard D (2010) Pre-Columbian agricultural landscapes, ecosystem engineers, and self-organised patchiness in Amazonia. Proc Natl Acad Sci 107:7823–7828Google Scholar
  92. Miller RM, Miller SP, Jastrow JD, Rivetta CB (2002) Mycorrhizal mediated feedbacks influence net carbon gain and nutrient uptake in Andropogon gerardii. New Phytol 155:149–162Google Scholar
  93. Mohan D, Pittman CU, Steele PH (2006) Pyrolysis of wood/biomass for bio-oil: a critical review. Energy Fuels 20:848–889Google Scholar
  94. Myers TP, Denevan WM, Winklerprins A, Porro A (2003) Historical perspectives on Amazonian dark earths. Chapter 2. In: Lehmann J, Kern DC, Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian dark earths: origin, properties, management. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 15–28Google Scholar
  95. Nguyen BT, Lehmann J (2009) Black carbon decomposition under varying water regimes. Org Geochem 40:846–853Google Scholar
  96. Nguyen BT, Marschner P (2005) Effects of drying and rewetting on phosphorus transformations in red brown soils with different soil organic matter content. Soil Biol Biochem 37:1573–1576Google Scholar
  97. Nguyen BT, Lehmann J, Kinyangi J, Smernik R, Riha SJ, Engelhard MH (2009) Long-term black carbon dynamics in cultivated soil. Biogeochemistry 92:163–176Google Scholar
  98. Novak JM, Busscher WJ, Laird DL, Ahmedna M, Watts DW Niandou MAS (2009) Impact of biochar amendment on fertility of a Southeastern coastal plain soil. Soil Sci 174:105–112Google Scholar
  99. Novak JM, Busscher WJ, Watts DW, Laird DA, Ahmedna MA, Niandou MAS (2010) Short-term CO2 mineralisation after additions of biochar and switchgrass to a typic Kandiudult. Geoderma 154:281–288Google Scholar
  100. O’Neill B, Grossman J, Tsai MT, Gomes JE, Lehmann J, Peterson J, Neves E, Thies JE (2009) Bacterial community composition in Brazilian anthrosols and adjacent soils characterized using culturing and molecular identification. Microb Ecol 58:23–35PubMedGoogle Scholar
  101. Oguntunde PG, Fosu M, Ajayi AE, van de Giesen N (2004) Effects of charcoal production on maize yield, chemical properties and texture of soil. Biol Fertil Soils 39:295–299Google Scholar
  102. Oguntunde PG, Abiodun BJ, Ajayi AE, van de Giesen N (2008) Effects of charcoal production on soil physical properties in Ghana. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 171:591–596Google Scholar
  103. Piccolo A, Pietramellara G, Mbagwu JSC (1996) Effects of coal derived humic substances on water retention and structural stability of Mediterranean soils. Soil Use Manage 12:209–213Google Scholar
  104. Pietikäinen J, Kiikkilä O, Fritze H (2000) Charcoal as a habitat for microbes and its effect on the microbial community of the underlying humus. Oikos 89:231–242Google Scholar
  105. Pignatello JJ, Kwon S, Lu Y (2006) Effects of natural organic substances on the surface and adsorptive properties of environmental black carbon (char): attenuation of surface activity by humic and fulvic acids. Environ Sci Technol 40:7757–7763PubMedGoogle Scholar
  106. Ponomarenko EV, Anderson DW (2001) Importance of charred organic matter in black chernozem soils of Saskatchewan. Can J Soil Sci 81:285–297Google Scholar
  107. Preston CM, Schmidt MWI (2006) Black (pyrogenic) carbon: a synthesis of current knowledge and uncertainties with special consideration of boreal regions. Biogeosciences 3:397–420Google Scholar
  108. Raison RJ (1979) Modification of the soil environment by vegetation fires, with particular reference to nitrogen transformations: a review. Plant Soil 51:73–108Google Scholar
  109. Ramanathan V, Carmichael G (2008) Global and regional climate changes due to black carbon. Nature Geoscience 1:221–227Google Scholar
  110. Rawlins BG, Vane CH, Kim AW, Tye AM, Kemp SJ, Bellamy PH (2008) Methods for estimating types of soil organic carbon and their application to surveys of UK urban areas. Soil Use Manage 24:47–59Google Scholar
  111. Ritchie JC (1995) Current trends in studies of long-term plant community dynamics. New Phytol 130:469–494Google Scholar
  112. Rondon MA, Lehmann J, Ramirez J, Hurtado M (2007) Biological nitrogen fixation by common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L) increases with bio-char additions. Biol Fertil Soils 43:699–708Google Scholar
  113. Rovira P, Duguy B, Vallejo VR (2009) Black carbon in wildfire-affected shrubland Mediterranean soils. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 172:43–52Google Scholar
  114. Rumpel C, Chaplot V, Planchon O, Bernadou J, Valentin C, Mariotti A (2006) Preferential erosion of black carbon on steep slopes with slash and burn agriculture. Catena 65:30–40Google Scholar
  115. Russell EJ (1988) Russell’s soil conditions and plant growth. In: Wild A (ed) Longman scientific and technical. Harlow, Essex, p 991Google Scholar
  116. Saito M (1990) Charcoal as micro habitat for VA mycorrhizal fungi, and its practical application. Agric Ecosyst Environ 29:341–344Google Scholar
  117. Santos A, Silva G, Miranda H, Miranda A, Lloyd J (2003) Effects of fire on surface carbon, energy and water vapor fluxes over Campo Sujo savanna in central Brazil. Funct Ecol 17:711–719Google Scholar
  118. Sato S, Neves EG, Solomon D, Liang B, Lehmann J (2009) Biogenic calcium phosphate transformation in soils over millennial time scales. J Soils Sediments 9:194–205Google Scholar
  119. Schmidt MWI, Noack AG (2000) Black carbon in soils and sediments: analysis, distribution, implications and current challenges. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 14:777–793Google Scholar
  120. Schmidt MWI, Skjemstad JO, Gehrt E, Kogel-Knabner I (1999) Charred organic carbon in German chernozemic soils. Eur J Soil Sci 50:351–365Google Scholar
  121. Schmidt MWI, Skjemstad JO, Czimczik CI, Glaser B, Prentice KM, Gelinas Y, Kuhlbusch TAJ (2001) Comparative analysis of black carbon in soils. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 15:163–167Google Scholar
  122. Sierra J, Noel C, Dufour L, Ozier-Lafontaine H, Welcker C, Desfontaines L (2003) Mineral nutrition and growth of tropical maize as affected by soil acidity. Plant Soil 252:215–226Google Scholar
  123. Skjemstad JO, Clarke P, Taylor JA, Oades JM, McClure SG (1996) The chemistry and nature of protected carbon in soil. Aust J Soil Res 34:251–271Google Scholar
  124. Skjemstad JO, Taylor JA, Janik LJ, Marvanek SP (1999) Soil organic carbon dynamics under long-term sugarcane monoculture. Aust J Soil Res 37:151–164Google Scholar
  125. Skjemstad JO, Reicosky DC, Wilts AR, McGowan JA (2002) Charcoal carbon in US agricultural soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 66:1249–1255Google Scholar
  126. Solomon D, Lehmann J, Kinyangi J, Amelung W, Lobe I, Pell A, Riha S, Ngoze S, Verchot L, Mbugua D, Skjemstad J, Schafer T (2007a) Long-term impacts of anthropogenic perturbations on dynamics and speciation of organic carbon in tropical forest and subtropical grassland ecosystems. Glob Chang Biol 13:511–530Google Scholar
  127. Solomon D, Lehmann J, Thies J, Schafer T, Liang B, Kinyangi J, Neves E, Peterson J, Luizao F, Skjemstad J (2007b) Molecular signature and sources of biochemical recalcitrance of organic C in Amazonian Dark Earths. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 71:2285–2298Google Scholar
  128. Sombroek W, de Lourdes Ruivo M, Fearnside PM, Glaser B, Lehmann J (2003) Amazonian dark earths as carbon stores and sinks. Chapter 7. In: Lehmann J, Kern DC, Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian dark earths origin properties management. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 125–139Google Scholar
  129. Sorensen LH (1974) Rate of decomposition or organic matter in soil as influenced by repeated air drying-rewetting and repeated additions of organic material. Soil Biol Biochem 6:287–292Google Scholar
  130. Spokas KA, Reicosky DC (2009) Impacts of sixteen different biochars on soil greenhouse gas production. Ann Environ Sci 3:179–193Google Scholar
  131. Steiner C (2007) Soil charcoal amendments maintain soil fertility and establish a carbon sink—research and prospects. In: Soil Ecology and Research Developments 1–6. Edt. Liu T-XGoogle Scholar
  132. Steiner C, Teixeira WG, Lehmann J, Nehls T, de Macedo JLV, Blum WEH, Zech W (2007) Long term effects of manure, charcoal and mineral fertilization on crop production and fertility on a highly weathered Central Amazonian upland soil. Plant Soil 291:275–290Google Scholar
  133. Steiner C, de Arruda MR, Teixeira WG, Zech W (2008a) Soil respiration curves as soil fertility indicators in perennial central Amazonian plantations treated with charcoal, and mineral or organic fertilisers. Trop Sci. doi: 10.1002/ts.216 Google Scholar
  134. Steiner C, Das KC, Garcia M, Forester B, Zech W (2008b) Charcoal and smoke extract stimulate the soil microbial community in a highly weathered xanthic Ferralsol. Pedobiologia 51:359–366Google Scholar
  135. Steiner C, Glaser B, Teixeira WG, Lehmann J, Blum WEH, Zech W (2008c) Nitrogen retention and plant uptake on a highly weathered central Amazonian Ferraisol amended with compost and charcoal. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 171:893–899Google Scholar
  136. Teixeira WG, Martins GC (2003) Soil physical characterization. Chapter 15. In: Lehmann J, Kern DC, Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian dark earths origin properties management. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 271–286Google Scholar
  137. Thies JE, Rillig MC (2009) Characteristics of biochar: biological properties. Chapter 6. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environmental management science and technology. Earthscan, London, pp 85–10Google Scholar
  138. Thies J, Suzuki K (2003) Amazonian dark earths biological measurement. Chapter 16. In: Lehmann J, Kern DC, Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian dark earths origin properties management. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 287–332Google Scholar
  139. Tiessen H, Cuevas E, Chacon P (1994) The role of soil organic matter in sustaining soil fertility. Nature 371:783–785Google Scholar
  140. Topoliantz S, Ponge J-F (2005) Charcoal consumption and casting activity by Pontoscolex corethrurus (Glossoscolecidae). Appl Soil Ecol 28:217–224Google Scholar
  141. Troeh FR, Thompson LM (2005) Soils and soil fertility, 5th edn. Blackwell, IowaGoogle Scholar
  142. Trompowsky PM, Benites VM, Madari BE, Pimenta AS, Hockaday WC, Hatcher PG (2005) Characterisation of humic like substances obtained by chemical oxidation of eucalyptus charcoal. Org Geochem 36:1480–1489Google Scholar
  143. Tsai WT, Lee MK, Chang YM (2006) Fast pyrolysis of rice straw, sugarcane bagasse and coconut shell in an induction-heating reactor. J Anal Appl Pyrol 76:230–237Google Scholar
  144. Tyron EH (1948) Effects of charcoal on certain physical, chemical and biological properties of forest soils. Ecol Monogr 18:82–115Google Scholar
  145. Van Gestel M, Merckx R, Vlassak K (1993) Microbial biomass responses to soil drying and rewetting: the fate of fast- and slow-growing microorganisms in soils from different climates. Soil Biol Biochem 25:109–123Google Scholar
  146. Van Zwieten L, Singh B, Joseph S, Kimber S, Cowie A, Chan KY (2009) Biochar and emission of non-CO2 greenhouse gases from soil. Chapter 13. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environmental management science and technology. Earthscan, London, pp 227–249Google Scholar
  147. Wardle DA, Nilsson M-C, Zackrisson O (2008) Fire-derived charcoal causes loss of forest humus. Science 320:629PubMedGoogle Scholar
  148. Warnock DD, Lehmann J, Kuyper TW, Rillig MC (2007) Mycorrhizal responses to biochar in soil—concepts and mechanisms. Plant Soil 300:9–20Google Scholar
  149. Whalley WR, Clark LJ, Gowing DJG, Cope RE, Lodge RJ, Leeds-Harrison PB (2006) Does soil strength play a role in wheat yield losses caused by soil drying? Plant Soil 280:279–290Google Scholar
  150. Williams CN, Joseph KT (1976) Climate, soil and crop production in the humid tropics. Revised edition, third impression. Oxford University Press, Oxford, p 177Google Scholar
  151. Woods WI (2003) Development of anthrosol research. Chapter 1. In: Lehmann J, Kern DC, Glaser B, Woods WI (eds) Amazonian dark earths origin properties management. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 3–14Google Scholar
  152. Woolf D (2008) Biochar as a soil amendment: a review of the environmental implications.
  153. Yamato M, Okimori Y, Wibowo IF, Anshori S, Ogawa M (2006) Effects of the application of charred bark in Acacia mangium on the yield of maize, cowpea, peanut and soil chemical properties in south Sumatra, Indonesia. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 52:489–495Google Scholar
  154. Zech W, Sensi N, Guggenberger G, Kaiser K, Lehmann J, Miano TM, Miltner A, Schroth G (1997) Factors controlling humification and mineralization of soil organic matter in the tropics. Geoderma 79:117–161Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. Atkinson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jean D. Fitzgerald
    • 1
  • Neil A. Hipps
    • 1
  1. 1.East Malling ResearchKentUK

Personalised recommendations