Christoph Steiner

NAME Christoph Steiner
TITLE Research Scientist
DEPARTMENT Faculty of Engineering, Biological and Agricultural Engineering
PHONE 706-542-3821
FAX 706-542-8806
ADDRESS Driftmier Engineering Center
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia 30602
EDUCATION Ph.D. in Soil Science, University of Bayreuth, Germany
M.S. in Agriculture, Göttingen, Germany
M.S. in Biology, University of Salzburg, Austria
RESEARCH INTERESTS Biochar, recreation of Terra Preta, soil fertility, tropical agriculture and ecosystems

Christoph Steiner


Dr. Christoph Steiner joined the Biorefining and Carbon Cycling Program at the University of Georgia in January 2008. For over four years he was working on the recreation of Terra Preta soil in the Brazilian Amazon, focussing on the use of charcoal (biochar) as soil amendment. Among other contributions, he described slash and char as an alternative to slash and burn, thus transferring an easily decomposable biomass into refractory soil organic matter pools, with important implications to mitigation of climate change and sustaining soil fertility in the humid tropics.

Over the past few years Steiner investigated the global potential of charcoal carbon sequestration and this brought him to the Biorefining and Charbon Cycling Program. Crop and animal residue biomass represents a considerable problem as well as presenting new challenges and opportunities. Christoph Steiner has established national and international collaborative links in this area.


Steiner C. 2008. Soil Charcoal Amendments Maintain Soil Fertility and Establish a Carbon Sink—Research and Prospects. In Soil Ecology Research Developments. Eds Tian-Xiao Liu. Nova Science Publishers, New York.

Steiner C., Das K.C., Garcia M., Förster B. and Zech W. 2008. Charcoal and Smoke Extract Stimulate the Soil Microbial Community in a Highly Weathered Xanthic Ferralsol. Pedobiologia doi:10.1016/j.pedobi.2007.08.002

Steiner C., Glaser B., Teixeira W.G., Lehmann J., Blum W.E.H. and Zech W. 2008. Nitrogen Retention and Plant Uptake on a Highly Weathered Central Amazonian Ferralsol amended with Compost and Charcoal. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, in press

Steiner C., Teixeira W.G., Lehmann J., Nehls T., Macêdo J.L.Vd., Blum W.E.H. and Zech W. 2007. Long term effects of manure, charcoal and mineral fertilization on crop production and fertility on a highly weathered Central Amazonian upland soil. Plant and Soil 291, 275-290

Major, J., Steiner C., Ditommaso A., Falcão N.P.S. and Lehmann J. 2005. Weed composition and cover after three years of soil fertility management in the central Brazilian Amazon: Compost, fertilizer, manure and charcoal applications. Weed Biology and Management 5, 69-76

Steiner C., Teixeira W.G., Lehmann J. and Zech W. 2004. Microbial Response to Charcoal Amendments of Highly Weathered Soils and Amazonian Dark Earths in Central Amazonia—Preliminary Results. In Amazonian Dark Earths: Explorations in Space and Time. Eds. B. Glaser and W.I. Woods. pp 195-212. Springer Verlag, Heidelberg.

Steiner C., Teixeira W.G. and Zech W. 2004. Slash and Char: An Alternative to Slash and Burn Practiced in the Amazon Basin. In Amazonian Dark Earths: Explorations in Space and Time. Eds. B. Glaser and W.I. Woods. pp 183-193. Springer Verlag, Heidelberg.

Lehmann J., da Silva Jr. J.P., Steiner C., Nehls T., Zech W. and Glaser B. 2003. Nutrient availability and leaching in an archaeological Anthrosol and a Ferralsol of the Central Amazon basin: fertilizer, manure and charcoal amendments. Plant and Soil 249, 343-357