Pedosphere 25(5): 639--653, 2015
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2015 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Biochar for sustainable soil health: A review of prospects and concerns
A. H. LONE1,G. R. NAJAR2, M. A. GANIE1, J. A.SOFI3 and T. ALI1
1Division of Soil Science, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir Shalimar, Srinagar J&K 190 025 (India)
2Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Wadura, Sopore J&K 193 201 (India)
3Research Centre for Quality and Residue Analysis,Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Shalimar, Srinagar J\&K 190 025 (India)
ABSTRACT
      Biochar as a soil amendment is confronted with the challenge that it must benefit soil health as it can be by no means separated from soils once it is added. The available literature even though sparse and mostly based on short-term studies has been encouraging and the trend obtained so far has raised many hopes. Biochar has been reported to positively impact an array of soil processes ranging from benefiting soil biology, controlling soil-borne pathogens, enhancing nitrogen fixation, improving soil physical and chemical properties, decreasing nitrate (NO3-) leaching and nitrous oxide (N2O) emission to remediation of contaminated soils. However, very little biochar is still utilized as soil amendment mainly because these benefits are yet to be quantified, and also the mechanisms by which the soil health is improved are poorly understood. Due to the infancy of research regarding this subject, there are still more questions than answers. The future research efforts must focus on carrying out long-term experiments and uncover the mechanisms underlying these processes so that key concerns surrounding the use of biochar are addressed before its large scale application is recommended.
Key Words:  nitrate leaching, nitrogen fixation, nitrous oxide emission, soil amendment, soil biology, soil-borne pathogens, soil enzymes, soil remediation
Citation: Lone, A. H., Najar, G. R., Ganie, M. A., Sofi, J. A. and Ali, T. 2015. Biochar for sustainable soil health: A review of prospects and concerns. Pedosphere. 25(5): 639-653.
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