Biochar: Agronomic and Environmental Uses Community

The Biochar: Agronomic and Environmental Uses Community is an ASA Community within the Environmental Quality Section

BiocharThis Community will fill the need for a scientific organization focused on the environmental and agronomic impacts of biochar, particularly related to soil application. Biochar is the solid residual produced from the pyrolysis of biomass, which is focused on the utility of the residue as a vehicle for carbon sequestration. 

Biochar is an emerging research area which is gathering both scientific and popular interest due to its dual roles in bioenergy (energy from the pyrolysis) and carbon sequestration potential (biochar), which are enhanced by the potential analogies to the productive Terra Preta soils in South America. However, there is an urgent need to develop recommendations for biochar use in agronomic systems as well as provide scientific data for U.S. and international policy guidelines. Therefore, there is a need to form a scientific community to fill these current voids. This Community will interface with other existing national and international advocate groups for extending impact and outlet of research findings.   

The initial focus of this group will be on the environmental and agronomic uses of biochar.  It is difficult to predict all the potential research areas. Agronomics impacts focused on biotic (e.g. microbial and plant) as well as abiotic (e.g. pH, nutrient availability, soil fertility, soil aggregation, and/or water holding capacity) effects following biochar addition would be within scope of this group. Environmental impacts could entail the use of biochar as a sorbent for metals, microbes, or other agrochemicals. However, the research interests would not be limited to these examples.
Biochar has been shown to have beneficial secondary effects on soil properties and plant yield in degraded soils, as well as reduction in soil greenhouse gas emissions in other soils. However, further research is needed to elucidate mechanisms behind these observations and development of guidelines for biochar’s utilization. The main purpose of this group will be to facilitate scientific data exchange, improve collaborations, and provide a forum to share and extend the impact by coordinating multi-location research efforts among the members through the web site and communications between members of this Community.

The Community will be sponsoring 1 symposium (oral) and 4 topical sessions (oral and poster) at the 2015 Tri-Societies' Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN. Please consider submitting an abstract to the symposium or one of the topical sessions ( Each of the sessions can be accessed through the ASA Section: Environmental Quality link.

Novel and Value-Added Uses of Biochar (Oral Symposium)

This symposium will bring together researchers who are working on novel and value-added applications of biochar.

Fate and Transport of Agrochemicals, Microbes, and Nutrients in Biochar-Amended Soils: I and II (Oral and poster sessions)

These sessions will bring together researchers studying all facets of the interactions affecting the fate and transport of agrochemicals, microorganisms, and other potential contaminants in biochar-amended soils. 

Agronomic, Environmental, and Industrial Uses of Biochar: I and II

These general sessions are for presenting research related to agronomic, environmental, and industrial uses of biochar. The poster sessions includes a graduate student competition.