301 pages, b/w illustrations, tables
Aimed mainly at a professional audience, Biochar in European Soils and Agriculture is intended to provide a user-friendly handbook on biochar. It de-mystifies the scientific, engineering and managerial issues surrounding biochar and makes the whole topic more understandable and approachable to potential users. These include policy makers, landowners and farmers, land use, agricultural and environmental consultants, industry and lobby groups and NGOs.
The chapters review state-of-the-art knowledge in a non-technical way of biochar production, soil science, agriculture, environmental impacts, economics, the law and regulation and climate change policy. They explain the facets of biochar through the use of explanatory boxes, info-graphics and concise summaries of key concepts and understanding. The authors also present research findings from the first coordinated European biochar field trial, representing the largest biochar field trial globally, including the effects of several biochars (made from typical European feedstocks) on soil properties, soil functioning and crop growth and the costs and benefits of producing and using biochar. They evaluate whether the claimed climate change benefits of biochar are really justified compared to other choices on how we use our limited resources. They provide 'hands-on' practical information and knowledge on how to combine biochar with other soil amendments (such as manure and composts) and with agronomic good practice, how to ensure that it is safe and effective and how to select the most appropriate biochar for different agronomic circumstances.
Biochar in European Soils and Agriculture then summarises the key information for those who need to be aware of biochar from a policy perspective at local, national, EU and international levels.
2. Biochar Production and Feedstocks
3. Biochar Characterization and Properties
4. Key Functions of Biochar in Soil
5. A European Transnational Field Study
6. Post-Production Treatment of Biochar and Agronomic Applications
7. The Value of Post-treated Biochar and Biochar Blends in European Field Trials and Greenhouse Studies
8. Biochar Stability in Soil and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
9. Life Cycle Assessment: From Seed to Seed
10. What Will Biochar Cost? What is it Worth?
11. Future Dynamics and the Changing Role of Biochar
12. The Legality of Biochar Application: Regulatory Requirements and Biochar Risk Assessment
13. Conclusions and Recommendations
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Simon Shackley is a Lecturer at the UK Biochar Research Centre, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, UK. Greet Ruysschaert is a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Belgium. Kor Zwart is a Senior Researcher at Alterra Wageningen-UR, Netherlands. Bruno Glaser is Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, and Managing Director of Biochar Europe UG.