BioChar -- Last Year's Argument Revisted

Excerpt -- full article here:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/Make-Biochar-To-Improve-Your-Soil.aspx
"Scientists around the world are working in labs and field trial plots to better understand how biochar works, and to unravel the many mysteries of terra preta. At Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., microbiologists have discovered bacteria in terra preta soils that are similar to strains that are active in hot compost piles. Overall populations of fungi and bacteria are high in terra preta soils, too, but the presence of abundant carbon makes the microorganisms live and reproduce at a slowed pace. The result is a reduction in the turnover rate of organic matter in the soil, so composts and other soil-enriching forms of organic matter last longer."
"In field trials with corn, rice and many other crops, biochar has increased productivity by making nutrients already present in the soil better available to plants. Results are especially dramatic when biochar is added to good soil that contains ample minerals and plant nutrients. Research continues (track it at The International Biochar Initiative), but at this point it appears that biochar gives both organic matter and microorganisms in organically enriched soil enhanced staying power. Digging in nuggets of biochar or adding them to compost as it is set aside to cure can slow the leaching away of nutrients and help organically enriched soil retain nutrients for decades rather than for a couple of seasons."
Charlie
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I couldn't get my head around this concept the first time you presented it, Charlie, but then I read the Wikipedia article on BioChar http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=biochar&ie=UTF-8&oe=U TF-8 and the first thing that came to mind was activated carbon filters that strain (physically filter) as well as form ionic bonds with material suspended in the water in order to remove them. If this is the case (the premise), then powered charcoal would be a better addition because of its'greater surface area/weight ratio.
The Wikipedia article also points out that charcoals' durability makes it a good candidate for carbon sequestration. With sequestration, you would want larger chunks of charcoal to reduce the surface area (the area of degradation).
Guess I'll have to get the little grey cells working on a way to strain the charcoal out of my wood ash.
Thanks for bringing the subject of BioChar up again :O)
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Billy
Kleptocrats Behind Bars
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wrote:

My primary interest in terra preta is soil improvement, carbon sequestration secondary. The cost/benefit is loaded entirely upon the benefit side, minimal labor excluded. My kind of process.
Unfortunately, David and Fran and all are up to their arses in biochar. Their situation is another topic entirely and causes me much concern, for them personally and and as an indicator of global concerns.
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biochar
"In addition to its potential for carbon sequestration, biochar has numerous co-benefits when added to soil. It can prevent the leaching of nutrients out of the soil,[14] increase the available nutrients for plant growth,[15] increase water retention,[16] and reduce the amount of fertilizer required. Additionally, it has been shown to decrease N2O (Nitrous oxide) and CH4 (methane) emissions from soil, thus further reducing GHG emissions.[17] Biochar can be utilized in many applications as a replacement for or co-terminous strategy with other bioenergy production strategies. One of its most immediate uses is in switching from "slash-and-burn to slash-and-char to prevent the rapid deforestation and subsequent degradation of soils."
Biochar sequestration does not require a fundamental scientific advance and the underlying production technology is robust and simple, making it appropriate for many regions of the world.
***Note the reference to water retention.***
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Charlie

"Do no harm & leave the world a better place than you found it."
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wrote:

http://biochar.pbwiki.com /
Meant to add this reference to the previous post, from the references listed in your wiki reference....whew....too many references to which one must refer.
Good practical apps.
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Charlie

Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience.
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