Shivesh Karan

Research Scientist

(+47) 410 15 674

Ås O43

Visiting address
Oluf Thesens vei 43, 1433 Ås



Shivesh holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering, specializing in sustainable land management through geospatial data analysis. With a foundation in Computer Science and Engineering, his expertise lies at the intersection of technology and environmental science. His research spans water resource vulnerability, bioeconomy strategies, biochar applications in agriculture, and he is particularly interested in contributing to research related to geographical data synthesis and analysis for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

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Global warming necessitates urgent action to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Biochar, a type of carbonized biomass which can be produced from crop residues (CRs), offers a promising solution for carbon dioxide removal (CDR) when it is used to sequester photosynthetically fixed carbon that would otherwise have been returned to atmospheric CO2 through respiration or combustion. However, high-resolution spatially explicit maps of CR resources and their capacity for climate change mitigation through biochar production are currently lacking, with previous global studies relying on coarse (mostly country scale) aggregated statistics. By developing a comprehensive high spatial resolution global dataset of CR production, we show that, globally, CRs generate around 2.4 Pg C annually. If 100% of these residues were utilized, the maximum theoretical technical potential for biochar production from CRs amounts to 1.0 Pg C year−1 (3.7 Pg CO2e year−1). The permanence of biochar differs across regions, with the fraction of initial carbon that remains after 100 years ranging from 60% in warm climates to nearly 100% in cryosols. Assuming that biochar is sequestered in soils close to point of production, approximately 0.72 Pg C year−1 (2.6 Pg CO2e year−1) of the technical potential would remain sequestered after 100 years. However, when considering limitations on sustainable residue harvesting and competing livestock usage, the global biochar production potential decreases to 0.51 Pg C year−1 (1.9 Pg CO2e year−1), with 0.36 Pg C year−1 (1.3 Pg CO2e year−1) remaining sequestered after a century. Twelve countries have the technical potential to sequester over one fifth of their current emissions as biochar from CRs, with Bhutan (68%) and India (53%) having the largest ratios. The high-resolution maps of CR production and biochar sequestration potential provided here will provide valuable insights and support decision-making related to biochar production and investment in biochar production capacity.