Report: Use of biochar from the pyrolysis of waste organic material as a soil amendment
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Biochar is a charcoal-like material produced by the thermochemical pyrolysis of biomass materials. It is being considered as a potentially significant means of storing carbon for long periods to mitigate greenhouse gases. Much of the interest comes from studies of Amazonian soils that appear to have been amended with biochar which led to significant improvements in soil quality and large increases in crop yields. These changes have persisted for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. What is not known is how long it takes for biochar to integrate with the soil and thus express its benefits. However, biochar does represent a stable form of carbon in soils and thus provides an intriguing potential carbon storage strategy. In this study, biochars from several different feedstocks were evaluated for their characteristics and their fate in five different Washington State soils.