Impacts of biochar application on upland agriculture: A review

Kumuduni Niroshika Palansooriya, Yong Sik Ok, Yasser Mahmoud Awad, Sang Soo Lee, Jwa Kyung Sung, Agamemnon Koutsospyros, Deok Hyun Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Citations (Scopus)


Soil degradation has become an emerging global problem limiting sustainable upland crop production. Soil erosion, soil acidity, low fertility, inorganic/organic contamination, and salinization challenge food security and lead to severe economic constraints. Therefore, a new research agenda to develop cost-beneficial amendments for improving upland soil quality and productivity is urgently required. Biochar has been used in recent years to mitigate the problems mentioned above. Application of biochar improves the upland soil quality through significant changes in soil physicochemical and biological properties, thereby substantially increasing crop yield. This review article aims to discuss the effects of biochar on upland soil quality and productivity based on biochar-soil interactions. The yield of various upland crops can be enhanced by biochar-induced increases of nutrient availability and topsoil retention/recovery. Furthermore, biochar can assist in controlling unsuitable soil acidity/alkalinity/salinity and remediating a contaminated soil while increasing the retention of soil organic carbon, water content, and thereby high crop yield. Biochar is strongly recommended as one of the best management practices to meet the challenges of upland agriculture. However, the properties of biochar and soil type should be considered carefully prior to application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-64
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 15


  • Black carbon
  • Crop yield
  • Highland agricultural soil
  • Soil quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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