Building Soil Organic Matter through Biochar Amendment: A Climate-Smart Approach to Ensure Food Security

Funding source: University Research Council, Emory University

PI: Debjani Sihi

Total Funding: $29,388

Brief description of the project:
Soil organic matter (SOM) regulates the capacity of soil to provide regulatory ecosystem services. However, measuring changes of SOM effectively warrants taking its differences into account. Current efforts (climate-smart land-management practices) to promote SOM storage miss a key point. An improved understanding of how different SOM fractions (particulate organic matter, POM and mineral-associated organic matter, MAOM) work and how land management practices change their relative distribution is of paramount importance to meet the two most pressing problems facing our planet: climate change and food security. We are evaluating the dynamics of POM and MAOM under biochar amendment. We chose biochar because this is a climate-smart approach, which holds promise for a sustainable food future in nutrient-poor soils of tropics and subtropics. The findings will provide an innovative solution to evaluate the impact of climate-smart land-management practices, which have important policy implications.



(i) Sihi, D. and Dari, B. Evaluating Soil Organic Matter Dynamics Under Cover Crop and Biochar Amendment. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, Nov 7-10, 2021

(ii) Sihi, D. and Dari, B. Biochar Amendment Influenced Distribution of Soil Organic Matter Fractions: A Climate-Smart Approach to Ensure Food Security. Ecological Society of America Meeting, Aug 2-6, 2021


(i) Sihi, D., Dari, B., Kuruvila, A. P., Jha, G., & Basu, K. (2022). Explainable Machine Learning Approach Quantified the Long-Term (1981–2015) Impact of Climate and Soil Properties on Yields of Major Agricultural Crops Across CONUS. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 145

(iii) McLennon, E., Dari, B., Jha, G., Sihi, D., & Kankarla, V. (2021). Regenerative agriculture and integrative permaculture for sustainable and technology driven global food production and security. Agronomy Journal, 113(6), 4541-4559

(iv) Jha, G., Sihi, D., Dari, B., Kaur, H., Nocco, M. A., Ulery, A., & Lombard, K. (2021). Rapid and inexpensive assessment of soil total iron using Nix Pro color sensor. Agricultural & Environmental Letters, 6(3), e20050