Biochar for Environmental Management: Science, Technology and Implementation, 2nd Edition (e-Book) book cover

Biochar for Environmental Management

Science, Technology and Implementation, 2nd Edition

Edited by Johannes Lehmann, Stephen Joseph


944 pages | 33 Color Illus. | 200 B/W Illus.

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Biochar is the carbon-rich product which occurs when biomass (such as wood, manure or crop residues) is heated in a closed container with little or no available air. It can be used to improve agriculture and the environment in several ways, and its persistence in soil and nutrient-retention properties make it an ideal soil amendment to increase crop yields. In addition to this, biochar sequestration, in combination with sustainable biomass production, can be carbon-negative and therefore used to actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, with potentially major implications for mitigation of climate change. Biochar production can also be combined with bioenergy production through the use of the gases that are given off in the pyrolysis process.

The first edition of this book, published in 2009, was the definitive work reviewing the expanding research literature on this topic. Since then, the rate of research activity has increased at least ten-fold, and biochar products are now commercially available as soil amendments. This second edition includes not only substantially updated chapters, but also additional chapters: on environmental risk assessment; on new uses of biochar in composting and potting mixes; a new and controversial field of studying the effects of biochar on soil carbon cycles; on traditional use with very recent discoveries that biochar was used not only in the Amazon but also in Africa and Asia; on changes in water availability and soil water dynamics; and on sustainability and certification. The book therefore continues to represent the most comprehensive compilation of current knowledge on all aspects of biochar.


'With its careful evaluation of every aspect of biochar, this book represents a cornerstone of our future global sustainability. I’m convinced that its message is every bit as important as that of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and potentially every bit as politically powerful as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. If it finds a wide enough readership, it will change our world forever, and very much for the better.'Tim Flannery (Melbourne, August 2014).

Table of Contents

1. Biochar for Environmental Management: An Introduction

Johannes Lehmann and Stephen Joseph

2. Traditional Use of Biochar

Katja Wiedner and Bruno Glaser

3. Fundamentals of Biochar Production

Robert Brown, Bernardo del Campo, Akwasi A. Boateng, Manuel Garcia-Perez and Ondřej Mašek

4. Biochar Production Technology

Akwasi A. Boateng, Manuel Garcia-Perez, Ondřej Mašek, Robert Brown and Bernardo del Campo

5. Characteristics of Biochar: Physical and Structural Properties

Chee H. Chia, Adriana Downie and Paul Munroe

6. Characteristics of Biochar: Macro-molecular Properties

Markus Kleber, William Hockaday and Peter S. Nico

7. Biochar Elemental Composition and Factors Influencing Nutrient Retention

James A. Ippolito, Kurt A. Spokas, Jeffrey. M. Novak, Rick. D. Lentz and Keri B. Cantrell

8. A Biochar Classification System and Associated Test Methods

Marta Camps-Arbestain, James E. Amonette, Balwant Singh, Tao Wang and Hans Peter Schmidt

9. Evolution of Biochar Properties in Soil

Joseph J. Pignatello, Minori Uchimiya, Samuel Abiven and Michael W.I. Schmidt

10. Persistence of Biochar in Soil

Johannes Lehmann, Samuel Abiven, Markus Kleber, Genxing Pan, BP Singh, Saran Sohi and Andy Zimmerman

11. Movement of Biochar in the Environment

Cornelia Rumpel, Jens Leifeld, Cristina Santin and Stefan Doerr

12. Biochar Effects on Crop Yield

Simon Jeffery, Diego Abalos, Kurt Spokas and Frank G.A. Verheijen

13. Biochar Effects on the Abundance, Activity and Diversity of the Soil Biota

Janice E. Thies, Matthias C. Rillig and Ellen R. Graber

14. Biochar Effects on Plant Ecophysiology

Claudia Kammann and Ellen Graber

15. Biochar Effects on Soil Nutrient Transformations

Thomas H. DeLuca, Michael J.Gundale, M. Derek MacKenzie and Davey L. Jones

16. Priming Effects in Biochar-amended Soils: Implications of Biochar-soil Organic Matter Interactions for Carbon Storage

Thea Whitman, Bhupinder Pal Singh and Andrew Zimmerman

17. Biochar Effects on Nitrous Oxide and Methane Emissions from Soil

Lukas Van Zwieten, Claudia Kammann, MariaLuz Cayuela, Bhupinder Pal Singh, Stephen Joseph, Stephen Kimber, Scott Donne, Tim Clough and Kurt Spokas

18. Biochar Effects on Nutrient Leaching

David Laird and Natalia Rogovska

19. Biochar Effects on Soil Hydrology

Caroline A. Masiello, Brandon Dugan, Catherine E. Brewer, Kurt Spokas, Jeffrey M. Novak, Zuolin Liu and Giovambattista Sorrenti

20. Biochar and Heavy Metals

Luke Beesley, Eduardo Moreno, Guido Fellet, Leonidas Carrijo and Tom Sizmur

21. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Polychlorinated Aromatic Compounds in Biochar

Thomas D. Bucheli, Isabel Hilber and Hans-Peter Schmidt

22. Sorption and Remediation of Organic Compounds in Soils and Sediments by (Activated) Biochar

Sarah E. Hale, Gerard Cornelissen and David Werner

23. Biochar and Retention/Efficacy of Pesticides

Ellen R. Graber and Rai Kookana

24. Test Procedures for Biochar Analysis in Soils

Michael Bird

25. Biochar as an Additive to Compost and Growing Media

Christoph Steiner, Miguel A. Sánchez-Monedero and Claudia Kammann

26. Biochar Systems and System Fit

Saran Sohi, John McDonagh, Jeff Novak, Weixiang Wu and Luciana-Maria Miu

27. Biochar, Carbon Accounting and Climate Change

Annette Cowie, Dominic Woolf, John Gaunt, Miguel Brandão and Ruy Anaya de la Rosa

28. Biochar Sustainability and Certification

Frank G.A. Verheijen, Ana Catarina Bastos, Hans Peter Schmidt, Miguel Brandão and Simon Jeffery

29. Economic Evaluation of Biochar Systems: Current Evidence and Challenges

Simon Shackley, Abbie Clare, Stephen Joseph, Bruce McCarl and Hans-Peter Schmidt

30. Socio-economic Feasibility, Implementation and Evaluation of Small Scale Biochar Projects

Stephen Joseph, Mai Lan Anh, Abbie Clare and Simon Shackley

31. Commercialization of the Biochar Industry

Michael Sesko, David Shearer and Gregory Stangl

About the Editors

Johannes Lehmann is professor of soil biogeochemistry and soil fertility management at Cornell University, USA, Co-founder and Chair of the Board of the International Biochar Initiative, member of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy Biomass R&D committee and editor-in-chief of Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

Stephen Joseph is a visiting professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Co-founder of the International Biochar Initiative.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Energy Industries
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Agriculture / Agronomy / Soil Science