Soil biochar amendment in a nature restoration area: effects on plant productivity and community composition

  • Published source details Van de Voorde T.F., Bezemer T.M., Van Groenigen J.W., Jeffrey S. & Mommer L. (2014) Soil biochar amendment in a nature restoration area: effects on plant productivity and community composition. Ecological Applications, 24, 1167-1177.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Add charcoal to soil before seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation
  1. Add charcoal to soil before seeding/planting

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2011 in a restored grassland in the Netherlands (Van de Voorde et al. 2014) found that addition of charcoal to soil before sowing seeds increased the cover of legumes, but did not alter the cover of grasses or other forbs or total plant biomass. Plots where charcoal was added to soil before sowing had higher cover of legumes (39%–41%) than those where no charcoal was added before sowing (14%). However, there was no significant effect of charcoal addition on cover of other forbs (charcoal: 86–90%; untreated: 93%), cover of grasses (charcoal: 6%; untreated: 8%), or total plant biomass (charcoal: 486–495 g/m2; untreated: 465 g/m2). In April 2011, six 4 x 4 m plots were treated with charcoal, produced from grass cuttings heated to either 400°C or 600°C, at a rate of 10 Mg/ha. Plots were paired with untreated plots. All plots were then rotovated and sown with a grassland seed mixture. In August 2011, vegetation cover was assessed in four 1 x 1 m quadrats/plot. In October 2011, vegetation was clipped in two 0.5 x 1 m quadrats/plot to determine plant biomass.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust