Biochar: “Triple Wins”, Livelihoods and Technological Promise

  • Published 26/10/10

Biochar is a carbon-rich product that results when biomass is burned under oxygen-deprived conditions. There is both technological optimism and debate about its potential. The addition of biochar to soils is being hailed both as a promising tool in carbon sequestration and enriching soils, and it appears also to offer a range of other benefits to farmers and the environment. This promise is generating research, imagination, and investment that out-paces actual practices on the ground. Critiques are also emerging in an often politicised and polarised debate. What is being said about biochar and the promises it offers? What is missing? Could biochar become part of pathways to sustainability for small farmers in rural African settings and beyond?

This briefing accompanies the Working Paper Biocharred Pathways to Sustainability? Triple Wins, Livelihoods and the Politics of Technological Promise.