Improving soils with biochar: General considerations and current research efforts
Julie Major, Seminar Presentation, Cornell University, February 22, 2006

9.2 MB Power point presentation, Reduced pdf file (1 MB) attached.
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Soil Organic Carbon
Jan Skjemstad, CRC Greenhouse Accounting

In Summary

Soil OC is a significant source and sink of atmospheric CO2

Soil is a complex, biologically active medium

Soil OC is not one material

Changes in SOC can be measured directly or can be modelled

The C sink value of soils is limited BUT increasing and maintaining SOC has many benefits for improved productivity and soil resilienceMysneakers | Patike


Characterization of Pyrolysis Char for Use as an Agricultural Soil Amendment
Keith Harris1, Julia Gaskin1, Leticia Sonon2, and K.C. Das1
1Dept. of Biol. & Ag. Eng., 2AESL, College of Ag & Env. Sci University of Georgia, Athens, GA

The Southeastern Coastal Plain in the United States is a major agricultural production area; however, soils are typically low in cation exchange capacity (CEC), nutrient content, and organic carbon content. For example, Tifton


What Factors Influence Charcoal Quality?
Tom Miles, Biomass Cooking Stoves June 18, 2006


100C -> Wood drying 19 MJ/kg

220C -> Wood becomes brown
250-270C-> Torrefaction 28% fixed carbon, 72% volatile 23.9 MJ/kg
280C -> Wood becomes deep brown-black

300C -> 68% char 32% volatile 40% yield soft, brown, friable


Role of organic matter in soil and its contribution to crop nitrogen nutrition
Jeff Baldock, Jan Skjemstad & Evelyn Krull, CSIRO Land and Water, Adelaide, SA,
Ph: (08) 8303 8537

Composition of soil organic matter

* Soil organic matter is composed of a wide range of different materials with different chemical and physical properties and different extents of decomposition.
* Four biologically significant fractions are now recognised:

Slash and Char as an Alternative to Slash and Burn
Christoph Steiner, Christoph Steiner, University of Bayteuth, Germany, Manaus, Brasil, 2002

Studies on the Human Impact on Forests and Floodplains in the Tropics (SHIFT)

Soil charcoal amendments maintain soil fertility and create a carbon sink

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Amelioration of Shallow and Compact Soils Through Charcoal and Humic Material Amendment
Paul Seger, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN

Potential Benefits of Charcoal and/or Humic Materials
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Soil Chemical Properties Influenced by Water-Washed Charcoal: Abiotic and Biotic Processes
Chih-Hsin Cheng, Johannes Lehmann and Janice Thies, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell University

improving soil properties by using charcoal residues, including organic carbon and ashes. High content
of the base ions in the ashes could lead to increase the pH and strongly affect the study results. The

Contributions of Pinus Ponderosa Charcoal to Soil Chemical and Physical Properties
Christopher M. Briggs in Briggs, Breiner, Graham Pinus Ponderosa Charcoal 9 May 2005

Charcoal results from the incomplete burning of plant material and is found in most
soil surface horizons, but little is known about its effects on soil properties. The objectives of this
study were (1) to determine the chemical and physical properties of ponderosa pine charcoal


Charcoal making industry in Thailand; its present situation and outlook for the future
Group 4; Hiroshi MASUDA, Miho NAKAMURA, Kotaro FUKUHARA, Benjawan
Field Trip Report to Thailand (2006/11/06 - 2006/11/16)

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Charcoal production for carbon sequestration (1.1 mb pdf)
Gustan Pari, Djeni Hendra, Dadang Setiawan, Mahpudin Saepuloh, Salim Soleh, Mad Ali (Forest Products Technology Research and Development Center) and Kiyoshi Miyakuni, Nobuo Ishibashi(Japan International Cooperation Agency) April 2004
Demonstration Study on Carbon Fixing Forest Management in Indonesia


Indonesia: Survey on the Effect of Charcoal to Tree Growth and Charcoal Production in West Kalimantan (1.3 mb pdf)
Carbon Fixing Forest Management project
Demonstration Study on Carbon Fixing Forest Management in Indonesia
Cooperation Project between Forestry Research and Development Agency (FORDA), Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Collaboration with Yayasan Dian Tama December 2005



Changes in Composition and Porosity Occurring During the Thermal Degradation of Wood and Wood Components
David W. Rutherford, Robert L. Wershaw, and Larry G. Cox, USGS, 2004


Training Manual of Bamboo Charcoal for Producers and Consumers
JIANG Shenxue, Bamboo Engineering Research Center, Nanjing Forestry University, May 2004



Standard Test Method for Chemical Analysis of Wood Charcoal ASTM D1762-84

Attached is the ASTM D1762-84. This test method covers the determination of moisture, volatile matter, and ash in charcoal made from wood. The test method is applicable to lumps and briquets and is designed for the evaluation of charcoal quality. The test method employs apparatus that is found in most laboratories and is adapted to routine analyses of a large number of samples.

Chemical Analysis: Testing of Barbecue Coal and Barbecue Briquettes
Force Technology, Denmark

Force Technology lists and compares Danish standards with European test methods.

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Non-graphitizing Carbons
Peter J F Harris, The Encyclopedia of Materials: Science and Technology, Elsevier, 2001



Morphological characteristics of Quercus variabilis charcoal prepared at different temperatures
Nam-Hun Kim1 and Robert B. Hanna2
(1) Department of Wood Science and Engineering, College of Forest Sciences, Kangwon National University, 200-701 Chunchon, Korea
(2) Brown Center for Ultrastructure Studies, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA



Charcoal Carbon in U.S. Agricultural Soils
Jan O. Skjemstad*,a, Donald C. Reicoskyb, Alan R. Wiltsb and Janine A. McGowana
Soil Science Society of America Journal (SSSAJ), 66:1249-1255 (2002)

a CSIRO Land and Water and CRC for Greenhouse Accounting, Private Bag No. 2, Glen Osmond, SA, Australia 5064
b USDA-ARS, North Central Soil Conservation Research Lab, 803 Iowa Ave., Morris, MN 56267
* Corresponding author (


Dear friends: terra preta is fascinating in part because it involves so many disciplines. My viewpoint is that of a fuel scientist/chemical engineer.

My laboratory produces well-characterized charcoals for a wide variety of research endeavors, including carbon fuel cell studies, metallurgical charcoal applications, activated carbon production, and terra preta research (with my colleagues Dr. Goro Uehara, Dr. Jonathan Deenik, and Tai McClellan in the University of Hawaiibridge media | NIKE AIR HUARACHE

Learning to use wood charcoal in farming at a Northwestern Washington native plant nursery.
Richard Haard, Fourth Corner Nurseries, Washington, Febuary 20, 2007
My motivation for preparing this post is to be able to use this motivate discussion of charcoal as a soil additive. Trying to do this work at a very busy nursery that is perhaps pushing their production factor too high (over 80%) is rather frustrating as experiments have gotten over ruled by planning changes, wiped out by harvest before I can read the data and the conditions set up for the experiment just do not work. However, I have been encouraged however and I am now using hardwood charcoal as a carrier for natural inocculum as a matter of routine.
Fourth Corner Nurseries is a wholesale supplier of native plant species, located on 77 acres in the coastal lowlands of northwestern Washington, USA. With approximately 40 acres under cultivation, we produce two/three million direct-seeded, field-grown, bare-root native plants annually. Our principal crop is individually seed-sourced, bare-root deciduous trees and shrubs, herbaceous perennials, grasses and emergent species such as sedges, cattails and rushes for environmental restoration purposes. Our mission is to sustainably grow plants while supporting workers and their families who depend on the farm for their economic subsistence. Use of surplus biomass from our willow coppice field and other materials is our alternative energy vision.
Aerial view of our farm

Aerial View of Fourth Corner Nurseries

Aerial View of Fourth Corner Nurseries

Richard Haard: Affinity of fungi and crop plant roots to charcoal
Richard Haard, February 12, 2007

The image below illustrates the affinity of fungi and crop plant roots to charcoal.

Charcoal placed in a fertile garden for a few months showing how crop roots (Swiss chard) and fungi are attached to this medium as habitat
Charcoal placed in a fertile garden for a few months showing how crop roots (Swiss chard) and fungi are attached to this medium as habitat

Establishment and Management of Prairie Grasses
Royal Horticultural Society Research, UK, 2007

Establishment of North American prairie grasses by field sowing was investigated at the Royal Horticultural Society Garden at Wisley. This experiment is part of a larger programme of work to investigate the use of North American prairie wildflowers and grasses as a style of planting in gardens and parks in Britain, which is a modern, informal and low maintenance. It is particularly appropriate for amenity planting.



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