Biochar implications for sustainable agriculture and environment: A review

Wael M. Semida, Hamada R. Beheiry, Mamoudou Sétamou, Catherine R. Simpson, Taia A. Abd El-Mageed, Mostafa M. Rady, Shad D. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Sustainable agriculture, characterized by farming profitably while minimizing damage to the environment, is not easy to practice. “Conventional agriculture” worldwide is commonly considered to involve numerous practices that have potential to damage the environment. “Sustainable agriculture” attempts to find a range of conservation agricultural practices which may mitigate some of the adverse impacts of land use intensification. Among the wide range of the conservation agricultural practices, biochar may prove a key and accessible input for sustainable agriculture, as it could efficiently sequester large amount of carbon in soil over the long-run, thus improving soil fertility, crop productivity, and mitigate global warming. In addition, biochar may enhance crop productive capacity of soils under different biotic and abiotic stresses, and advance global food security. The main focus of this report is providing a critical scientific review of the current state of knowledge regarding the effects of biochar application to soils on soil properties, processes and functions. Wider issues, including atmospheric emissions and occupational health and safety associated to biochar production and handling, are put into context. The aim of this review is to provide a sound scientific basis for policy development, to identify gaps in current knowledge, and to recommend further research relating to biochar application to soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-347
Number of pages15
JournalSouth African Journal of Botany
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Biochar
  • Biotic and abiotic stresses
  • Crop yield
  • Global warming
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Soil amendment
  • Sustainable agriculture


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