Effects of Biochar on Properties of Tropical Sandy Soils Under Organic Agriculture

  •  Nattaporn Prakongkep    
  •  Robert J. Gilkes    
  •  Worachart Wisawapipat    
  •  Parapond Leksungnoen    
  •  Chanida Kerdchana    
  •  Tawatchai Inboonchuay    
  •  Evelyne Delbos    
  •  Laura-Jane Strachan    
  •  Potchara Ariyasakul    
  •  Channarong Ketdan    
  •  Claude Hammecker    


This study evaluated the influences of biochar made from local agricultural wastes on sandy soils in farmer fields where biochar has been used as a soil amendment for more than three years. The major objective of this study was to gain insight into the effects of long-term biochar application on properties of sandy soil.

Unamended soil properties were compared to biochar-amended soils properties using the paired samples t-test (p < 0.05). The statistical results of the study indicated that cation exchange capacity, exchangeable potassium, available phosphorus, field capacity, plant available water, water-stable aggregate size fractions (> 1 and < 0.25 mm), median aggregate size and aggregate stability were significantly different at p < 0.05. Clearly, biochar present for 3 or more years can improve soil physicochemical properties.

We conclude that sandy soil properties, especially soil physical properties, are very strongly affected by biochar application combined with conservative soil management. Biochars affect both physical and biological mechanisms of soil aggregate formation because the biochar particle sizes influence the arrangement of clay on biochar and biochar grains provide a favorable microbial habitat and food source for fungi creating microorganism-biochar-soil associations which enhance water-stable aggregates and water holding capacity.

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