Impact of biochar properties on soil conditions and agricultural sustainability: A review

Mohammad I. Al-Wabel, Qaiser Hussain, Adel R.A. Usman, Mahtab Ahmad, Adel Abduljabbar, Abdulazeem S. Sallam, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This review summarizes the influences of pyrolysis conditions and feedstock types on biochar properties and how biochar properties in turn affect soil properties. Mechanistic evidence of biochar's potential for enhancing crop productivity, carbon sequestration, and nutrient use efficiency are also discussed. The review identifies the knowledge gaps, limitations, and future research directions for large-scale use of biochar. Both pyrolytic parameters and feedstock types are considered to be the main factors controlling biochar properties such as nutrient content, recalcitrance, and pH. Biochar produced at low temperatures may improve nutrient availability and crop yield in acidic and alkaline soils, whereas high-temperature biochar may enhance long-term soil carbon sequestration. Biochar can also improve the efficiency of inorganic and organic fertilizers by enhancing microbial functions and reducing nutrient loss, thereby making nutrients more available to plants. Integration of biochar and chemical or organic fertilizers generally provides for better nutrient management and crop yield in most types of soils. Although biochar can improve degraded soils, it is not a panacea; as such, soil- and crop-specific biochar are needed in order to ensure optimum crop yield and agricultural sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLand Degradation and Development
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017 Jan 1

Keywords

  • Agricultural sustainability
  • Biochar
  • Crop productivity
  • Nutrient dynamics
  • Organic carbon
  • Slow pyrolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Development
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Soil Science

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  • Cite this

    Al-Wabel, M. I., Hussain, Q., Usman, A. R. A., Ahmad, M., Abduljabbar, A., Sallam, A. S., & Ok, Y. S. (Accepted/In press). Impact of biochar properties on soil conditions and agricultural sustainability: A review. Land Degradation and Development. https://doi.org/10.1002/ldr.2829