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The unique properties of black carbon-rich soils have only recently been recognized and international efforts have significantly increased to utilize this knowledge to improve agriculture and the environment in several ways. Biomass-derived black carbon, charcoal or 'biochar', as it is nowadays called, can be used as a soil amendment to improve nutrient retention and availability and therefore increase crop yields. Such a use of biochar is a significant advance over conventional organic matter management, as the biochar is more stable in soil and is better able to retain nutrients.
In combination with sustainable biomass production, such a biochar sequestration can be carbon negative and therefore be used to actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, with obvious significance for mitigation of climate change. Biochar production can also be combined with bioenergy production through the use of the gases that are given off in the pyrolysis process. This book is the first to synthesize the expanding research literature on this topic. This is all the more important at this juncture in the development of a biochar technology, as it requires an interdisciplinary approach involving engineering, environmental sciences, agricultural sciences, economics, and policy.
The book provides a comprehensive overview of current knowledge of the science and technology of biochar. This title presents the first comprehensive review of our current state of knowledge of biochar. It integrates and synthesizes information from a wide range of sources and disciplines. It shows how the management of biochar can contribute towards limiting the effects of climate change.
'A vital tool for policy-makers and scientists working on climate change mitigation.' Chris Goodall, author of the bestselling How to Live a Low-Carbon Life 'This book, I believe, provides the basic information required to allow implementation of the single most important initiative for humanity's environmental future. The biochar approach provides a uniquely powerful solution, for it allows us to address food security, the fuel crisis and the climate problem, and all in an immensely practical manner. With its careful evaluation of every aspect of biochar, this book represents a cornerstone of our future global sustainability.' From the Foreword by Tim Flannery 'This book provides comprehensive information and analysis on biochar technology and its implications. It is an essential reference in fostering pro-poor policies on energy efficiency and GHG mitigation based on land and soil improvements that could bring more justice into the climate change agenda.' Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Bonn, Germany 'Climate change seems an impossible problem. Impossible, that is, until one looks at the potential for biochar to permanently sequester atmospheric carbon. This wonderful volume is an invaluable handbook for those interested in the science and economics of soil amendment using biochar. A vital tool for policy-makers and scientists working on climate change mitigation.' Chris Goodall, author of the bestselling How to Live a Low-Carbon Life 'A detailed and comprehensive book... while some chapters may be more easily understood by soil scientists, chapters looking at the many advantages of biochar provide interesting reading to researchers and scientists in general.' LEISA 'A real eye-opener of a book that makes fascinating reading.' Bulletin of the British Ecological Society
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