University Of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Does biochar influence soil physical properties and soil water availability?

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 22:37 authored by Marcus HardieMarcus Hardie, Clothier, B, Sally BoundSally Bound, Oliver, G, Dugald CloseDugald Close

Aims: This study aims to (i) determine the effects of incorporating 47 Mg ha−1 acacia green waste biochar on soil physical properties and water relations, and (ii) to explore the different mechanisms by which biochar influences soil porosity.

Methods: The pore size distribution of the biochar was determined by scanning electron microscope and mercury porosimetry. Soil physical properties and water relations were determined by in situ tension infiltrometers, desorption and evaporative flux on intact cores, pressure chamber analysis at −1,500 kPa, and wet aggregate sieving.

Results: Thirty months after incorporation, biochar application had no significant effect on soil moisture content, drainable porosity between –1.0 and −10 kPa, field capacity, plant available water capacity, the van Genuchten soil water retention parameters, aggregate stability, nor the permanent wilting point. However, the biochar-amended soil had significantly higher nearsaturated hydraulic conductivity, soil water content at −0.1 kPa, and significantly lower bulk density than the unamended control. Differences were attributed to the formation of large macropores (>1,200 μm) resulting from greater earthworm burrowing in the biocharamended soil.

Conclusion: We found no evidence to suggest application of biochar influenced soil porosity by either direct pore contribution, creation of accommodation pores, or improved aggregate stability.


Publication title

Plant and Soil










Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Kluwer Academic Publ

Place of publication

Van Godewijckstraat 30, Dordrecht, Netherlands, 3311 Gz

Rights statement

Copyright 2014 Springer

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Pome fruit, pip fruit