Julia Gaskin

NAME Julia Gaskin
TITLE Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator
DEPARTMENT Biological and Agricultural Engineering
PHONE 706-542-1401
FAX 706-542-1886
ADDRESS Driftmier Engineering Center
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia 30602
EMAIL jgaskin@engr.uga.edu
EDUCATION M.S., University of Georgia
B.S., Duke University
RESEARCH INTERESTS Use of biochar for carbon sequestration, improving crop productivity and soil quality

Julia Gaskin


Biochar produced from the pyrolysis of biomass for energy production has potential to increase agricultural productivity and to sequester carbon in Georgia soils. Research indicates that biochar is a relatively stable form of carbon. Its incorporation in the soil could help provide a needed carbon sink to offset carbon dioxide emissions. A better understanding of how biochar may affect nutrient cycling and crop growth is needed to develop recommended rates for use.

Land application of pyrolysis char in small test plots, March 2006
The University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has formed teams led by the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department to conduct this needed research on crops and forestlands. Partners in this group include the Warnell School of Forest Resources and the Agricultural Resource Service J. Phil Campbell Natural Resource Center.

In 2006, the University of Georgia began the first field trial of biochar in the United States at Tifton to evaluate how peanut hull and pinechip biochar would affect corn growth and the potential to sequester carbon. This study is also investigating how biochar might increase the capacity of the soil to retain or supply nutrients. Preliminary results from the Tifton field trial indicate peanut hull biochar can supply potassium that is available for crops. Other research includes greenhouse studies with pine seedlings to evaluate the potential for biochar to increase water-holding capacity and its effect on pine growth in three benchmark soils, and greenhouse studies of the effect of pyrolysis byproductrs on soybean germination and growth.


Gaskin, J.W., K.C. Das, A. Tasistro, L. Sonon, K. Harris, and B. Hawkins.2007. Characterization of Char for Agricultural Use in the Soils of the Southeastern United States. In: William I. Woods, Wenceslau Teixxeira, Johannes Lehman, Cristhoph Stiener and Antoinette WinklerPrins (eds) Terra Preta Nova: A Tribute to Wim Sombroeck. Springer-Verlaug.

Gaskin, J.W., A Speir, L.M. Morris, L. Ogden, K. Harris, D. Lee, and K.C. Das. 2007. Potential of pyrolysis char to affect soil moisture and nutrient status of a loamy sand soil. Proceedings of the 2007 Georgia Water Resources Conference. March 27-29, 2007. University of Georgia.