What is Biochar ?

Biochar is a product and a potential tool in the struggle against impoverished soils and climate change.

Biochar is a stable, highly water and nutrient-retentive product that benefits microorganisms and has a very high carbon sequestration potential and that can be produced by repurposing residual waste instead of burning them in the open.

Biochar can be easily produced by farmers in simple Kilns through thermo-chemical processes to improve soil properties and ecosystem functions. It is not a single compound and is usually viewed for its multi-purpose use called Biochar systems.

Multiple Benefits of Biochar Systems

Long term carbon storage

The six-carbon ring structure in Biochar contribute to long term carbon storage in the soil.

Improves Nutrient storage

Responsible for nutrient storage especially cations like Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium.

Tree growth

Increases the diameter growth of trees significantly, on average by 1 mm per year compared to control fields.

Root growth

Biochar improves the root morphology by developing primary lateral roots and also improves assimilation of nitrogen.

Higher Biomass

Biochar improves biomass by increasing leaf area and photosynthesis.

Root nodules

Biochar affects root associated microbes and significantly increases the number of root nodules by more than 25%.

Soil organic microbial carbon

Increases Soil organic microbial Carbon and Nitrogen leading to improved yield and quality of field and vegetable crops.

Reduces the emission of Nitrous Oxide

Significantly reduces the emission of Nitrous Oxide from agricultural soil.

Leaching of soil nutrients

Reduces the leaching of soil nutrients like Nitrogen.

Plant Phosphorus availability

Increase in Plant Phosphorus availability and its uptake by plants.

Nutrient and water use efficiency.

Enhanced nutrient and water use efficiency.

Dangerous heavy metals

Reduces the uptake of dangerous heavy metals Nickel, Cadmium and Chromium.

Reduces soil compaction

Significantly reduces soil compaction.

Water holding capacity

Increase in plant available water holding capacity.

Efficient and cost effective way of removing carbon

Biochar with up to 70% carbon is a highly efficient and cost effective way of removing carbon from the air.

Remains for hundreds of years

The original character and composition of biochar remains for hundreds of years.

IBBN’s Bioresources mandate

The broad definition of Bioresources includes all plants, animals, wildlife, microbes, and fisheries in rural fields, hills, and mountains, urban landscapes, laboratories, wetlands, forests, oceans, and grasslands with diverse potential applications.  In addition to food, its concerns are universal and personal, big and small, based on tradition and propelled by innovation in various sectors from medicine and fuel to exotic cuisine and cosmetics. This encyclopedic definition of Bioresources is too general for IBBN’s focus.

The first comprehensive documentation of sustainable agriculture in modern times was in India when in 1905, the British botanist Sir Albert Howard, often referred to as the father of modern organic agriculture regarded traditional Indian farming practices as superior to conventional agriculture science. Unfortunately, within half a century, extractive farm practices such as higher use of chemicals and burning of crop residues had degraded Indian soil and ecosystems across the country.

IBBN works at the interface between agricultural practices, social and institutional structures, public policy and the global environment to promote conservation and responsible management of bioresources.

The Scope of our work on Bioresources Include:

  • Sustainable soil, land, water, crop, and microbial management through conservation agriculture and modern technology.
  • Climate change, its impact on bioresources and agriculture, and mitigation strategies.
  • Post-harvest management of agricultural produce.
  • The adoption of social, economic, technological, and institutional innovations to achieve our goals. 

The IBBN Secretariat is hosted by the Revitalizing Rainfed Agriculture Network and Snehakunja trust, and supported by GIZ  – The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale.

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