The ground beneath our feet can have more living organisms than there are people on this planet. These organisms act like the flora in our digestive systems that process food and make it available to our bodies, making nutrients available to plant roots. And what these organisms feed on to live is carbon.
An analysis done by Dr. Humin Zhou et al. in 2017 found that biochar increased Microbial Biomass Carbon an average of 26% from 413 academic research papers.
Over 2015 and 2016 the University of Washington School of Environmental and Forest Sciences partnered with a collective of 6 farms in San Juan County to research the effects of biochar in agricultural soils.
The study examined the influence of plain charcoal with no nutrients added and biochar mixed with poultry litter fertilizer, known as "charged biochar," as previous research indicates that charcoal mixed with fertilizer provides increased benefits. The same study design was replicated on each farm.
The team found a 35-45% increase in total Microbial Biomass Carbon with the raw charcoal in comparison to the control, and an additional 35% increase with the charged biochar in 2015 and 2016. The study also examined enzyme activity in 2016, the active agents microbes use to make minerals available to plants, which increased by 24% for biochar, and 28% for charged biochar.