Biochar in small-holder agriculture can improve crop yield with climate benefits because of carbon storage in the soil. This project aims to measure the contribution of biochar to climate change resilience, improved food security and profitability.

We will study the biochar contribution to climate change mitigation using a life-cycle analysisapproach. Such an approach takes into account all primary and secondary environmental effect of various scenarios.

Here, it is important to use a system perspective to assess both direct climate change mitigation but also emissions of greenhouse gases and toxic compounds during biochar making. Adoption of biochar will be dependent on profitability at farm level. We will therefore evaluate the cost-benefit of biochar integration and the impacts on product quantity and quality.

Food value chains will be established. The two most important effects of biochar in sub Saharan Africa are water retention and nutrient retention. Interaction between biochar and the nitrogen cycle will be studied to evaluate nitrogen use efficiency.

We will also study the importance of biochar-soil-water-crop interaction for improved drought resilience.

Our results can be utilized to guide policy development on how biochar can be integrated in small-holder farming systems.

Primary and secondary objectives:

  1. Potential of biochar to contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation
  2. Effect of biochar on soil carbon (C) and soil fertility, in particular the nitrogen (N) cycle
  3. Effect of biochar on soil hydrology and plant-available water
  4. Biochar management including effects on yield and crop quality, integration in farming systems
  5. Economy of biochar integration and food value chains