Special Issue "Long Term Agronomical, Physiological and Environmental Implications of Biochar Use in Agricultural Soils"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Agricultural Soils".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Francesco Primo Vaccari
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Institute of BioEconomy, National Research Council (IBE-CNR), Via Caproni 8, 50145 Firenze, Italy
Interests: plant ecology; climate change impact and mitigation; effects of high CO2 on crops and natural ecosystems; biosphere atmosphere interactions; biochar
Dr. Silvia Baronti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of BioEconomy, National Research Council (IBE-CNR), Via Caproni 8, 50145 Firenze, Italy
Interests: plant ecology; plant water relation; biochar; soil science; effects of high CO2 on crops and natural ecosystems
Dr. Nicolas Greggio
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences Department (BiGeA) and Interdepartmental Centre for Environmental Sciences Research, Alma Mater Studiorum – Bologna University, Operative Unit of Ravenna, Via S. Alberto, 163 - 48123 Ravenna, Italy
Interests: environmental geochemistry; potential harmful elements (PHEs) in sediment, soil and water; geoinformatics (GIS); water science; soil science; irrigation and water management; environmental monitoring and impact assessment; circular economy; agricultural residual biomasses (ARB)
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Diego Marazza
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Alma Mater Studiorum – Bologna University, Via Irnerio, 46, 40126 Bologna, Italy
Interests: long term experiment (LTE); biochar; biochar–compost mix; biochar effects; long-term research; soil carbon modelling; stock and flow modelling; biochar aging; biochar persistence; life-cycle and techno-economic assessment; carbon sequestration in integrated assessment models; biochar production; economic impacts of biochar technology; education of students; living labs and citizens engagement

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Soil is the planetary layer offering the majority of the ecosystem services. It is undergoing unprecedent threats such as erosion, desertification, pollution, and salinization. The international initiative called "4 per 1000" and many recent studies aimed to demonstrate that agriculture, and in particular agricultural soils, can play a crucial role in food security and climate mitigation. In particular, the increase of soil carbon storage through amending medium such as biochar is indicated by IPCC (2018) as most effective and ready-to-adopt negative emission technology.

In recent years, biochar has been widely accepted as a soil improver increasing fertility and organic matter content, promoting soil microorganisms and pedofauna biodiversity. Moreover, biochar has also recently been proposed as medium for reducing soil GHGs emission, for remediating polluted soils and for reducing crop water-footprint, increasing soil’s water retention capacity (Agegnehu et al., 2017).

However, the first disorienting aspect is that the majority of these studies are often executed in conditioned environments that do not represent the real field situation. The second aspect is related to the experiment duration, which is usually extremely limited in time, missing the long-term outputs.

This Special Issue is open to contributions (research papers and a reduced number of reviews) exploring the effect of biochar and its blend with other biowaste products (compost, digestate, sludge) on soil fertility and crop yield, posing particular attention on the interaction among soil, plant and microorganisms occurring in the rhizosphere. In particular, the SI will focus on medium–long term effects of biochar and its blend on:

  • Biochar effects on plant ecophysiology and phenology;
  • Interaction of biochar with other routes based on the use of biowaste such as composting, anaerobic digestion etc., in order to produce innovative amending media able to increase soil C storage;
  • Soil C modelling including, among others, biochar;
  • Potential harmful elements (PHEs) and related bioavailability in soils, along with PHEs distribution in plant tissues;
  • Biogeochemical soil cycle for nutrients and PHEs as well as physico-chemical and hydrological profiles of biochar amended soils;
  • Effects of biochar on phytohormones and other bio-stimulants in the rhizosphere;
  • Biochar effects on soil macro e microbiota.

Dr. Francesco Primo Vaccari
Dr. Silvia Baronti
Dr. Nicolas Greggio
Dr. Diego Marazza
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Biochar
  • Biochar blends
  • Soil amendment
  • Fertilizer
  • Rhizosphere
  • Potential Harmful Elements (PHEs)
  • Nutrients
  • Plant ecophysiology
  • Plant phenology
  • Biowaste
  • Composted biochar
  • Soil
  • Carbon
  • Modelling
  • SOC
  • Long Term Experiment
  • Long Term Experiment Platform (LTEP)
  • Phytohormones
  • Bio-stimulants
  • Macro e microbiota
  • Soil hydrology

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1. Changes in physical-chemical biochar properties following addition to soil

2. Agroenvironmental performances of biochar introduction in mineral or organic fertilization strategies in a maize-ryegrass forage system
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