Effects of Biochar and Farm Yard Manure on Soil Properties and Crop Growth in an Agroforestry System in the Himalaya

  •  Deepak Gautam    
  •  Roshan Bajracharya    
  •  Bishal Sitaula    


Many parts of South Asia are facing agricultural land degradation and reduced productivity while the population continues to grow and demand for food is ever-increasing. This paper presents the results of research specifically focused on application of biochar and Farm Yard Manure (FYM) at 5t/ha and 20t/ha, respectively as an amendment on degraded soil in a coffee agroforestry system of the mid-hills in the Nepal Himalaya. The study showed that there were significant (P<0.05) positive effects on soil chemical properties, crop growth (height) and crop productivity. In particular, the soil pH and SOM increased significantly, while other soil properties were not significantly improved. Also, plant growth increased dramatically with application of biochar, however, crop yields showed only slight increases. It is suggested that biochar applied at low rates along with FYM generally has immediate positive effects on the vegetative growth of plants, however, soil properties and overall crop yields may take a longer time to show improvement.

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