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Can biochar link forest restoration with commercial agriculture?


John Sessions
David Smith
Kristin M. Trippe
John D. Bailey
Joshua H. Petitmermet
William Hollamon
Claire L. Phillips
John D. Campbell



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Pacific Northwest Research Station


Biomass and Bioenergy. 123: 175-185.


The commercial use of low-value forest-origin biomass has long been considered for its potential to offset the cost of reducing wildfire hazard. The production of biochar simultaneously consumes low-value forest biomass and produces stable charcoal that, when applied to dryland agricultural soils, can increase water holding capacity and crop yield. In this way the production of forest-origin biochar has the potential to promote forest restoration, foster forest-related employment, increase agricultural competitiveness, and sequester carbon. Biochar offers the greatest opportunity where dryland food crops, limited water availability, existing energy transmission infrastructure, and high-fire hazard forests share the same landscape. In this paper we describe a landscape-level study based on this scenario to optimize wildfire hazard reduction treatments, biochar facility locations, and agroeconomic outcomes to evaluate the potential benefits needed to carry the costs of biochar production.


Sessions, John; Smith, David; Trippe, Kristin M.; Fried, Jeremy S.; Bailey, John D.; Petitmermet, Joshua H.; Hollamon, William; Phillips, Claire L.; Campbell, John D. 2019. Can biochar link forest restoration with commercial agriculture?. Biomass and Bioenergy. 123: 175-185.


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