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Opportunities and constraints for biochar technology in Australian agriculture: looking beyond carbon sequestration


Singh, B and Macdonald, LM and Kookana, RS and van Zwieten, L and Butler, G and Joseph, S and Weatherley, A and Kaudal, BB and Regan, A and Cattle, J and Dijkstra, F and Boersma, M and Kimber, S and Keith, A and Esfandbod, M, Opportunities and constraints for biochar technology in Australian agriculture: looking beyond carbon sequestration, Soil Research, 52, (8) pp. 739-750. ISSN 1838-675X (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 CSIRO

DOI: doi:10.1071/SR14112


The application of biochar technology for soil amendment is largely based on evidence about soil fertility and crop productivity gains made in the Amazonian Black Earth (terra preta). However, the uncertainty of production gains at realistic application rates of biochars and lack of knowledge about other benefits and other concerns may have resulted in poor uptake of biochar technology in Australia so far. In this review, we identify important opportunities as well as challenges in the adoption of biochar technology for broadacre farming and other sectors in Australia. The paper highlights that for biochar technology to be cost-effective and successful, we need to look beyond carbon sequestration and explore other opportunities to value-add to biochar. Therefore, some emerging and novel applications of biochar are identified. We also suggest some priority research areas that need immediate attention in order to realise the full potential of biochar technology in agriculture and other sectors in Australia.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:horticulture, Australia, carbon sequestration, biochar characterisation, nitrous oxides, heavy metals, herbicides, herbicide efficacy, contaminants
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Horticultural production
Research Field:Horticultural crop growth and development
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Mitigation of climate change
Objective Field:Climate change mitigation strategies
UTAS Author:Boersma, M (Dr Mark Boersma)
ID Code:96346
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:37
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2014-10-31
Last Modified:2017-11-02

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