Of forests, soils and biochar
The secret to healthy, productive forests lies in soils. Land-clearing and cultivation practices in Vermont have fueled significant soil losses, mostly in areas that now support forests, and on often highly acidic, nutrient-poor soils in cultivated bottom lands and toe-slopes. One possibility for significantly improving our soils and forests would ...
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#1 Sep 5, 2010
Biochar Soils.....Husbandry of whole new Orders & Kingdoms of life
Biotic Carbon, the carbon transformed by life, should never be combusted, oxidized and destroyed. It deserves more respect, reverence even, and understanding to use it back to the soil where 2/3 of excess atmospheric carbon originally came from.
We all know we are carbon-centered life, we seldom think about the complex web of recycled bio-carbon which is the true center of life. A cradle to cradle, mutually co-evolved biosphere reaching into every crack and crevice on Earth.
It's hard for most to revere microbes and fungus, but from our toes to our gums (onward), their balanced ecology is our health. The greater earth and soils are just as dependent, at much longer time scales. Our farming for over 10,000 years has been responsible for 2/3rds of our excess greenhouse gases. This soil carbon, converted to carbon dioxide, Methane & Nitrous oxide began a slow stable warming that now accelerates with burning of fossil fuel. Agriculture allowed our cultural accent and Agriculture will now prevent our descent.
Wise Land management; Organic farming and afforestation can build back our soil carbon,
Biochar allows the soil food web to build much more recalcitrant organic carbon,( living biomass & Glomalins) in addition to the carbon in the biochar.
Every 1 ton of Biomass yields 1/3 ton Charcoal for soil Sequestration (= to 1 Ton CO2e)+ Bio-Gas & Bio-oil fuels = to 1MWh exported electricity, so is a totally virtuous, carbon negative energy cycle.
Biochar viewed as soil Infrastructure; The old saw;
"Feed the Soil Not the Plants" becomes;
"Feed, Cloth and House the Soil, utilities included !".
Free Carbon Condominiums with carboxyl group fats in the pantry and hydroxyl alcohol in the mini bar.
Build it and the Wee-Beasties will come.
Microbes like to sit down when they eat.
By setting this table we expand husbandry to whole new orders & Kingdoms of life.
( These oxidised surface charges; carbonyl. hydroxyl, carboxylic acids, and lactones or quinones, have as well a role as signaling substances towards bacteria, fungi and plants.)
This is what I try to get across to Farmers, as to how I feel about the act of returning carbon to the soil. An act of penitence and thankfulness for the civilization we have created. Farmers are the Soil Sink Bankers, once carbon has a price, they will be laughing all the way to it.
Unlike CCS which only reduces emissions, biochar systems draw down CO2 every energy cycle, closing a circle back to support the soil food web. The photosynthetic "capture" collectors are up and running, the "storage" sink is in operation just under our feet. Pyrolysis conversion plants are the only infrastructure we need to build out.
US Focused Biochar report: Assessment of Biochar's Benefits for the USA
#2 Jan 24, 2011
You want to know all the secrets about biochar ?
This book will help !
Here practice and theory merge under a single cover of "The Biochar Revolution" and reveals hidden secrets of science called Biochar
“Love the Life you Live”
Since: Jul 11
#3 Jul 9, 2011
I believed in bio-char and have experimented making it on small scale. I was cautioned by a permaculturist who said that new studies are coming out saying that using bio-char on an industrial level can be dangerous for the soil. sure it sequesters carbon and can bring beneficial bacterias but it is being found to also depleting the soils oxygen. So I would say as most things on a small scale experimental level it can be a good thing, I just wouldn't get on full board to the idea it is the solution to industrial agriculture.
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