The development of biochar as a soil amendment so improve water retention, amend soil pH and biological imbalances, improve fertility and potentially to sequester carbon, is at a very early stage. Consequently there are no generally agreed definitions, standards or best practices for its application in any of its potential fields of service, nor are there any universal measures of expected outcomes or results which can vary widely depending on how the biochar is produced, how it is applied and the kinds of soil, climate and land management regimes in which it is used.

There’s a lot of work being done in a number of areas and a variety of organisations which are suggesting potential standards and best practises but for the moment they are all either in development or voluntary. In essence the situation is currently buyer beware and home producer be careful.

This part of AllBlackEarth exists to collect and discuss the development of policy, regulation and standards that apply to biochar and its use in all areas.

For more information you might want to start here for New Zealand updates and at IBI for more international and advanced discussions. IBI also have a NZ biochar policy page. Another perspective on biochar policy issues can be found on the Biochar-policy discussion forum here:

Feel free to add comments or links to relevant documents that will help policy makers, regulators and interested parties to come to reasonable, effective policies that enable users to feel confident that they have good products of acceptable standards that they can use effectively in their own landscapes.