Environment and agricultural practices regulate enhanced biochar-induced soil carbon pools and crop yield: A meta-analysis

Nanhai Zhang, Xu Ye, Yuan Gao, Gaoxiang Liu, Zihan Liu, Qilin Zhang, Enke Liu, Shikun Sun, Xiaolong Ren, Zhikuan Jia, Kadambot H.M. Siddique, Peng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Using biochar in agriculture to enhance soil carbon storage and productivity has been recognized as an effective means of carbon sequestration. However, the effects on crop yield and soil carbon and nitrogen can vary depending on environmental conditions, field management, and biochar conditions. Thus, we conducted a meta-analysis to identify the factors contributing to these inconsistencies. We found that biochar application significantly increased soil organic carbon (SOC), microbial biomass carbon (MBC), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), easily oxidized carbon (EOC), particulate organic carbon (POC), total nitrogen (TN), and the C:N ratio in topsoil (0–20 cm) and crop yields. Biochar was most effective in tropical regions, increasing SOC, Soil TN, and crop yield the most, with relatively moderate pyrolysis temperatures (550–650 °C) more conducive to SOC accumulation and relatively low pyrolysis temperatures (<350 °C) more conducive to increasing soil carbon components and crop yields. Biochar made from manure effectively increased soil carbon components and TN. Soil with low fertility (original SOC < 5 g kg−1; original TN < 0.6 g kg−1), coarse texture, and acidity (pH < 5.5) showed more effective results. However, biochar application rates should not be too high and should be combined with appropriate nitrogen fertilizer. And biochar application had long-term positive effects on soil carbon storage and crop yield. Overall, we recommend using small amounts of biochar with lower pyrolysis temperatures in soils with low fertility, coarse texture, and tropical regions for optimal economic and environmental benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number167290
Number of pages19
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2023

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