The Israel Biochar Researchers Network (iBRN) is the outcome of a new research program into biochar use in agriculture initiated in Israel at the start of 2009 by Dr. Ellen Graber of the Volcani Center, Agricultural Research Organization, Israel. A number of researchers with relevant expertise have since joined the research efforts of the iBRN. That research is aimed primarily at improving our understanding of how biochar functions in modern agricultural systems, thus providing much-needed support for the pyrolysis/biochar platform. Members of the iBRN seek to expand collective and individual research programs, engage other research groups nationally and internationally, and develop links with similar programs in other countries. Disciplines covered by members of the iBRN include soil chemistry, plant nutrition, plant physiology, organic chemistry, phytopathology, soil microbiology, soil physics, agricultural engineering, agricultural economics, agronomy, and post harvest food quality. To date, members of the network have focused on biochar impact on plant productivity and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, pH-dependant nutrient release and surface properties of biochar, effect of biochar amendments on pest and weed control, and the impact of biochar on soil microbial activity and community dynamics. Our overarching ambition is to shed light on the mechanisms which are responsible for the manifold benefits of biochar in agricultural systems.
WHAT IS BIOCHAR AND WHY ARE WE INTERESTED IN IT? Click this link to a review paper describing the pyrolysis/biochar platform.
REPORT: The iBRN 2011 Workshop was a great success. We were joined by Dr. Stephen Joseph, Visiting Professor from UNSW, Australia. There were great presentations by him and members of iBRN (Hagai Yasour, Yael Meller-Harel, Eyal Cohen, Nirit Bernstein), and lots of conversations before, during and after dealing with fundamental research questions related to "The Biochar Effect."