Add charcoal to soil before seeding/planting

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study examined the effects of adding charcoal to soil before seeding/planting on grassland vegetation. The study was in the Netherlands.




About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. 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.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Martin, P.A., Ockendon, N., Berthinussen, A, Smith, R.K. and Sutherland W.J. (2021) Grassland Conservation: Global evidence for the effects of selected interventions. Conservation Evidence Series Synopses. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Grassland Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Grassland Conservation
Grassland Conservation

Grassland Conservation - Published 2021

Grassland Synopsis

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