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USE OF BIOCHAR AS A SOIL AMMENDMENT: A BRIEF REVIEW

Cristina Muñoz1*, Sergio Góngora1, and Erick Zagal1

ABSTRACT

Soil degradation can be driven by either natural or anthropogenic causes and it can have strong impacts on agricultural sustainability, environmental quality, social issues (poverty) and political aspects of human society. Restoration of degraded soils could be through the promotion of improved land use systems and conservation management practices, that can have win-win effects in terms of economic and environmental benefits, such as greater agro-biodiversity, improved conservation and environmental management, and increased carbon (C) sequestration. An alternative to improve soil quality is the application of biochar. The aim of this review was to analyze changes in the properties of soils amended with biochar, determining that the use of this product is a promissory alternative because it can improve some soil properties, such as increased pH in acidic soils, cation exchange capacity and porosity and decreased bulk density, while it can also act as a microhabitat to soil microorganisms. However, the effect on greenhouse gas (GHG) emission has been not elucidated yet, with contradictory results depending on soil type and crop systems.

Key words: C sequestration, pyrolysis, biological soil properties, soil quality, organic amendment.

 


 

1 Department of Soils and Natural Resources, Faculty of Agronomy, Universidad de Concepción, Vicente Mendez Avenue 595, Chillán, Chile.

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