WG 4 Abstract - Environmental imapct assessment

WG4: Environmental impact assessment

As it is difficult to compare results among different soil types, agro-ecosystems (with or without additional fertilizer) or climate regimes, meta-analysis tools will be applied to compare the effects of different Biochar systems across Europe. It should be stressed here that not only the economic profitability but also the overall ecological benefit including the full range of ecosystem services has to be taken into consideration in the long term. In the soil positive effects on water retention, humic matter production, nutrient supply and biomass yield are included. A further aspect of Working Group 4 is the potential of Biochar materials to substitute culture media deriving from peatlands. Peatlands, which can be found over a wide area, for example in the Baltic countries, may be preserved if the high pressure on these carbon rich ecosystems will be reduced. The application of Biochar to soils however means an irreversible modification, which also may have drawbacks, such as the accumulation of organic and inorganic toxic compounds. Therefore, more research and information are needed about the ecotoxicological effects of Biochars on the soil biota as well as standardized testing procedures to characterize Biochars before they are applied.