A Comparison of Methods to
Apply Biochar into Temperate
Don Graves
1 Appropriate Technologies—Matching Methods with Purposes to
Apply Biochar in Soils
1.1 High Biochar Application Rates for the Purpose of
Maximising Soil Carbon Sinks
1.2 High Biochar Application Rates for the Purposes of
Treatment of Contaminated Soils
1.3 High Biochar Application Rates to Mitigate Risks of
Eutrophication of Water
1.4 High Biochar Application Rates for the Purposes of
Improved Soil Quality
2 The Precautionary Principle—The Need to Know More Before
Over Re-acting
Nelson Bays Mycorrhizas, 17 Wilkie Street, Motueka, 7120, New Zealand;
E-mail: dgraves@ihug.co.nz
A Comparison of Methods to Apply Biochar into Temperate Soils 203
3 Biochar Research Foci—Cultural Heritage, and Historic
Scienti c Legacies of Research into Ancient Amazonian ‘Terra
Preta de Indio’, or Novel Biochar Soils ‘Terra Preta de Nova’
3.1 Biochar Application and Recycling of other Soil Organic
Matter Sources
3.2 Integration of Biochar Application into No-tillage and other
Soil Carbon Enhancement Methods
3.3 Comparing Objectives and Outcomes of ‘Conventional
Tillage’ and ‘Conservation Tillage’
3.4 Four Important Issues for Tillage Practices to Encourage
Reliable Seed Germination, Seedling Emergence and
3.5 To Mulch or Not to Mulch?—To Till or Not to Till?
3.6 Mechanical versus Biological Biochar Incorporation in Soils
3.7 Seeking Applicable Questions to Find Suitable Solutions for
How to Apply Biochar
3.8 Possible Answers or Potential Lessons from Social
Sciences and Modern Soil Sciences
3.9 An Historical Context of the Adoption and Decline of
Conventional Tillage Methods and the Subsequent Growth
of Modern Conservation Tillage Methods
4 Biochar Application using Conventional Tillage and
Conservation Tillage Methods: Energy Costs and the Effective
Management of Environmental and Occupational Risks
4.1 What is Wrong with Ploughing or Conventional Tillage
4.2 Why Apply Biochar into Rhizosphere Soils?
4.3 How Can Conservation Tillage Assist Soil Carbon
Sequestration, Soil Structure, Mycorrhizal Functioning and
other Soil Ecosystem Services?
4.4 Designs, Restraints and Capabilities of Different
Conservation Tillage Technologies
4.5 Describing Aims and Potentially Adverse Consequences of
Producing ‘Terra Preta Nova’
4.6 Microscopic, Physical, and Biophysical Descriptions of
5 Methods of Biochar Application in Temperate Soils—Case
Studies and Proposed Possibilities
5.1 Conventional Tillage Biochar Application Methods
204 Biochar and Soil Biota
5.2 Biochar Applied in Trenches for the Purpose of Intercepting
Labile Nutrients or Pollutants
5.3 Conservation Tillage Biochar Application Methods
5.4 Small Scale Biochar Application by ‘No-dig’ Methods
Including Transplanting, Dibber, Animal Manure and Seed
Ball Methods
6 Materials
The objectives of this chapter are:
i) To Evaluate methods of biochar application to assist, by understanding
of existing ‘best management’ practices and expertise regarding biochar,
soil and crop carbon recycling; and through adoption of ‘appropriate
technology’ for small scale gardens or larger scale fi eld soils and
crops. This involves the inclusion of biochar into ‘rhizospheres’, i.e.,
undisturbed soil zones adjacent to plant roots, root exudates and
associated populations of root-affected soil microorganisms; and the
preparation of soils and seedbeds, to assist with crop establishment,
and or the restoration, remediation or rehabilitation of degraded
ii) To compare the potential risks, benefi ts and effectiveness of biochar and
soil carbon sequestration by ‘conventional’ tillage and ‘conservation’
tillage methods.
iii) To develop and evaluate economically and ecologically viable
‘no-tillage’ methods worth further investigation to safely and
accurately deliver biochar (and or soil amendments) into soils at
specifi c soil depths and application rates.
iv) To compare energy usage of biochar application methods.
v) To discuss the possible practical and ecological implications of methods
of application to soils, of biochar feedstock size and density, of nutrient
amendments, or of the potential effects of ‘designer biochar’ materials
and production methods.
The methods used for the manual or mechanical addition of biochar
to soils of are likely to be derived from existing methods used for any of
the three most common types of biological and nutrient materials applied

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