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#8943 - 08/26/06 01:36 AM Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
Here is an entire thread on 'Terra Preta' soils, which I feel has great possibilities to revolutionize sustainable agriculture into a major CO2 sequestration strategy. http://forums.hypography.com/earth-science/3451-terra-preta-9.html

I thought, I first read about these soils in " Botany of Desire " or "Guns,Germs,&Steel" but I could not find reference to them. I finely found the reference in "1491", but I did not realize their potential .

Also, Terra Preta was on the Agenda at this years world Soil Science Conference !
http://crops.confex.com/crops/wc2006/techprogram/P16274.HTM

If pre Columbian Indians could produce these soils up to 6 feet deep over 20% of the Amazon basin it seems that our energy and agricultural industries could also product them at scale.

Harnessing the work of this vast number of microbes and fungi changes the whole equation of EROEI for food and Bio fuels. I see this as the only sustainable agricultural strategy if we no longer have cheap hydrocarbons for fertilizer.

I've sent this thread to the researchers at M-Roots, who make Mycorisal fungus inoculations for acceleration of the reestablishment of the symbiotic fungal / root relationship. Here's the M-Roots site: http://www.rootsinc.com/

I would like to investigate if use of an M-Roots type fungus inoculants with a local compost, and Hydro-gels, would speed this super community of wee beasties in populating into their proper Soil horizon Carbon Condos.

The Georgia Inst. of Technology page:
http://www.energy.gatech.edu/presentations/dday.pdf

There is an ecology going on in these soils that is not completely understood, and if replicated and applied at scale would have multiple benefits for farmers and environmentalist.

Here is a great article that high lights this pyrolysis process , ( http://www.eprida.com/hydro/ ) which could use existing infrastructure to provide Charcoal sustainable Agriculture , Syn-Fuels, and a variation of this process would also work as well for H2 , Charcoal-Fertilizer, while sequestering CO2 from Coal fired plants to build soils at large scales , be sure to read the " See an initial analysis NEW " link of this technology to clean up Coal fired power plants.


Soil erosion, energy scarcity, excess greenhouse gas all answered through regenerative carbon management http://www.newfarm.org/columns/research_paul/2006/0106/charcoal.shtml
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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Of Interest?
#8944 - 09/13/06 10:21 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
HOT DAMN!!!!!........We made it into Nature!!

If this doesn't get Terra Preta some real traction , I don't know what will.

News Feature
Nature 442, 624-626(10 August 2006) | doi:10.1038/442624a; Published online 9 August 2006

Putting the carbon back: Black is the new green
Emma Marris1

Emma Marris is a Washington correspondent for Nature.


Top of pageAbstractOne way to keep carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere is to put it back in the ground. In the first of two News Features on carbon sequestration, Quirin Schiermeier asked when the world's coal-fired power plants will start storing away their carbon. In the second, Emma Marris joins the enthusiasts who think that enriching Earth's soils with charcoal can help avert global warming, reduce the need for fertilizers, and greatly increase the size of turnips.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v442/n7103/full/442624a.html

Erich J. Knight
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#8945 - 09/14/06 02:02 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere
Uncle Al Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 540
Loc: Southern California
Agri-giant Archer-Daniels-Midland's profits are benefitted more by scarcity than by abundance.

Primary petroleum production is less than $5/bbl at the wellhead. $70/bl petroleum is a TERRORIST delight. America wallowing in cheap excess corn and soya for human and animal feeds is a disaster. Literally burn ag production then torque down the screws - drought, blight. Consumers will pay tenfold extra and more to fill their bellies and fuel tanks, oh yes indeed.

Socialism educates us that value is constant and cannot be created. If you have more then somebody must have less. Successful corporations produce as little as possible and take as much as possible. No insurance company will pay out Katrina claims. Enron was an indomitable engine of profitablilty.

If you want American agriculture to prosper, it must be destroyed. Contemporary foreign policy is the bellwether. Do you hear Haliburton complaining on its way to the bank?
_________________________
Uncle Al
http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/
(Toxic URL! Unsafe for children and most mammals)
http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz3.pdf

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#8946 - 09/18/06 11:43 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
Dear Uncle:

Can you be more cryptic ??

1) ADM will jump on this in a nano-second if the USA would get it's arse in gear to deal with the "externality" cost of burning fossil fuel with at least a cap & trade program like the EU has .

2) "value is constant and cannot be created." But harnessing the soil microbes and an untold menagerie of other bugs, fungi etc., to survive in deeper soil horizons provides a massive proletariat that the socialist never considered.

3) "If you want American agriculture to prosper, it must be destroyed." .........How about shepherding it instead , holding cap& trade as carrot & stick in front of such rapacious, corporate behemoths?

Erich
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#8947 - 09/22/06 12:14 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
BillyT , who is from Brazil, has vociferously contradicted the carbon negative aspects of Terra preta soil technology.

sciforums.com - Name your favourite BioFuel Technology in Earth Science
http://www.sciforums.com/showthread....84#post1152384

I have replied with quotes from the research I have seen, and am forming up a rebuttal to his latest reply:


Billy T
is at DarkVisitor.com (3,261 posts) Yesterday, 07:40 PM
report | reply
To Erich_knight
Thanks for links. I have now looked at http://www.energy.gatech.edu/presentations/dday.pdf

Its 54 pages are mainly two parts: bio fuel & & terra preta.

The bio-fuels section is OK, but is mainly hopes and dreams and ignores alcohol which is real, economic, and enviromentally friendly.

On terra preta section:

Page 45 gives the relative carbon release by many fuels, showing all, even solar photovotatics, make some release (and they are correct when producing them and set up in field is included) and only terra preta as carbon negative. For reasons I detailed, in earlier post they are not entirely honest here. Yes, terra preta stores for reasonably long times (less than C02 injection into aquifer or raising clams etc as I mentioned in prior post) but each pass thru the char plant sends less than half of the carbon input into char for terra preta. Thus, if instead of using methane producing land dump to process 200 tons of bio-waste and by avoiding oil use, removes and /or store more than 200 tons in about one year, the char plant will put more than 100 tons of CO2 into the air for every 100 tons it stores, and part of that dumped into the air may be posionous CO initially. Their terra preat enthusasm is causing dishonesty.

Probably the same reason they failed to even include alcohol (of any type) in their page 45 chart -it is better, cheaper and much quicker than char at least as world converts and stores carbon in growing cane and alcohol storage tanks. After 1000 years or so, char can store more carbon than cane and alcohol.

You have quick and strong enthusiasm for many new technology but IMHO are not critical enough in your examination of them. Let me respectively suggest that you compare the results of processing 100 tons of wood chips and old news paper by two different processes. (methane land fill plant vs. Terra preta production and storage plant) in terms of how much (include oil displacement) the CO2 in air is changed by both and which removes more carbon form the carbon cycle for 100 years. I think you will find that the terra preta plant does not reduce oil consumption (adds slightly to it) and removes less than 50 tons of carbon from the carbon cycle and is not economically feasible without tax payer support. I.e. loses on all counts compared to the methane producing land fill.

Later by edit: I have visited the other two links now - not much new or different from first and I again not the almost activie ingnoring of ethanol and methane land fill alternatives. Also I know little about it, but is it not possible that Brazil's terra preta is natural, not man made? Obvious nature can make coincentrated carbon deposits (we call hem coal). Obviously vegitation in some areas, like Brazil, grows so fast and dies that it burries earlier half rotten vegitation. etc. Fact that some brokne potteryis found in it etc is not proof that it ws intentional made made soild addative. Perhaps tribal man's only role was to agee to sue one location as the dump. Back then it would not have old TV, tires, bottles and batteries, just vegitation and some pottery chards. The vegitation would generate heat (have you ever opened a big compost pile?) and with inadequate oxygen be largely reduced to carbon and oils (call that char) I like this natural carbon deposit theory alternative as I know peat is good for making scotch

Last edited by Billy T : Yesterday at 10:05 PM
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#8948 - 10/06/06 11:19 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
"Begetting a virtuous cycle" , I particularly like these quotes in this
14 Aug article:

Published on 14 Aug 2006 by WorldChanging. Archived on 14 Aug 2006.
Terra Preta: black is the new green by David Zaks and Chad Monfreda


This piece was originally published on Worldchanging.com, "the world's
leading sustainability blog."


http://www.energybulletin.net/19281.html


"Claims for biochar's capacity to capture carbon sound almost
audacious. Johannes Lehmann, soil scientist and author of Amazonian
Dark Earths: Origin, Properties, Management, believes that a strategy
combining biochar with biofuels could ultimately offset 9.5 billion
tons of carbon per year-an amount equal to the total current fossil
fuel emissions! "


And:


"Terra preta's full beauty appears in this closed loop. Unlike
traditional sequestration rates that follow diminishing marginal
returns-aquifers fill up, forests mature-practices based on terra preta
see increasing returns. Terra preta doubles or even triples crop
yields. More growth means more terra preta, begetting a virtuous cycle.
While a global rollout of terra preta is still a ways away, it heralds
yet another transformation of waste into resources. "


This is an interesting "FLash Carbonization" process. I've sent Dr Antal the Terra preta links and asked if he has considered this profound, but simple, some what orphaned, process that can provide Bio-fuels and fertility too.

http://www.hnei.hawaii.edu/bio.r3.asp#flashcarb


And the home page:


http://www.hnei.hawaii.edu/biocarbon.asp


Biocarbons (charcoal)
Consider the following riddle:


I am renewable;
I am a chemical element;
as a fuel I am often less expensive ($/GJ) than natural gas;
my energy density (GJ/m3) can exceed that of ethanol or LPG;
and my combustion does not add to the CO2 in the atmosphere;
I am easily stored and safe to transport;
I clean the water you drink and the air you breathe;
Plants grow best in soils that are enriched with me;
I am a key ingredient in the production of semiconductors;
When eaten I settle an upset stomach and clean the intestines; and
No one is afraid of me!
What am I?


(if you don't know, please find the answer at the bottom of this page).


The Table below lists the current prices of conventional fossil fuels
and their renewable alternatives. Observe that at its current price,
without any tax incentives or other government subsidies, charcoal is
cost-competitive with alternative fossil fuels. In fact, charcoal is
the only renewable fuel that is now cost competitive with fossil fuels.
Remarkably, at its current price (equal to oil at about $7/GJ) the
production of charcoal is very profitable. This fact is well-known to
charcoal producers, but not to the general public.


FUEL PRICES Fossil Renewable
Coal See note 1 Charcoal $3-8/GJ
Oil $3-11/GJ Ethanol $14/GJ
Natural gas $2-12/GJ Hydrogen $18-24/GJ


Note 1: because of its high content of mercury, sulfur, and other
noxious elements and compounds, the price of coal is not comparable to
the other (relatively clean) fuels listed. To be comparable, the price
of coal should include the necessary cleanup of these noxious materials
(especially mercury) at the outlet of the powerplant. Unfortunately,
reliable data on the cleanup costs are not easily available.


In addition to the fact that charcoal is cost-competitive with fossil
fuels, the markets for charcoal are more diverse (and potentially
larger) than those open to any other fuel. What other fuel enjoys
markets as a potting soil, health food, water purifier, soil amendment,
air purifier, metallurgical reductant, and cooking fuel?


Furthermore, landfills in the State of Hawaii are overburdened. The
Table below illustrates the amount of charcoal ("black gold") that can
be manufactured annually by the Flash Carbonization? process from
each county's waste stream. Note that the current wholesale price of
charcoal ($246 per ton) imported to the USA is equivalent to oil at
$46/bbl on an energy basis. The production of "black gold" from
Hawaii's green wastes could become a $50 million per year (or more)
business for a visionary entrepreneur.


For these reasons, biocarbons (i.e., charcoals) are an important
element of HNEI's overall R&D programs. The ancient technology of
charcoal manufacture has seen dramatic recent improvements in HNEI's
Renewable Resources Research Laboratory (R3Lab). Work continues on
optimizing reaction conditions for using the Flash Carbonization?
process with biomass. UH Flash Carbonization? process patents are
being actively licensed. Research efforts are also continuing on
biocarbon fuel cell concepts.

(Answer to riddle: charcoal!)


Erich J. Knight
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#8949 - 10/09/06 12:24 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
In another forum a poster characterized me as a chief preacher in the Terra Preta Church.

I shall take on this mantel, and here is my first sermon:

The Terra Preta Prayer

Our Carbon who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name
By kingdom come, thy will be done, IN the Earth to make it Heaven.
It will give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our atmospheric trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against the Kyoto protocols
And lead us not into fossil fuel temptation, but diliver us from it's evil
low as we walk through the valley of the shadow of Global Warming,
I will feel no evil, your Bio-fuels and fertile microbes will comfort me,
For thine is the fungal kingdom,
and the microbe power,
and the Sequestration Glory,
For ever and ever (well at least 2000 years)
AMEN

Erich J. Knight
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#8950 - 10/09/06 07:39 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere
Anonymous
Unregistered


Amen! LOL!

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#8951 - 10/13/06 11:21 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
Here's a reply from Dr. Hodges at Virginia Tech:


"Erich:
I attended some of the sessions at the World Congress of Soil Science on Terra Preta and had perused Dr. Lehmann's page at Cornell early last spring. We do have ongoing work on both biomass production for biorenewable fuels and the use of pyrolysis here at Va Tech (biological systems engineering). Our nutrient management specialist, Dr. Rory Maguire will be working with them to explore the use of the "by-product" char as their production models increase in scale to the point that we have enough product to work with.
While overall this looks like something that could help us from an energy standpoint, in the "Soil" scheme of things, there are some down sides of pyrolysis/char utilization. Significant amount of N are lost from the biomass, resulting in a very low N content in the char. When applied to soil, this can upset carbon to nitrogen balance to the point that microbial populations are shocked, and crop yields are significantly reduced if not carefully managed. In addition, the fine ash needs to be incorporated into the soil via tillage, putting it in conflict with no-till or reduced tillage systems in crops - a practice which also helps sequester carbon and has many other environmental benefits. Bottom line - this is something we are aware of and it is on our research agenda.

Thanks for the information and the inquiry.

Steven"




I've sent Dr Antal the Terra preta links and asked if he has considered Amazon Dark Soils (ADS) .


Here's Dr. Antal reply:

"Dear Mr. Knight: over the past seven years my colleagues and I have written at least six proposals to initiate scientific studies of terra preta here at UH. None were funded. I suggest that you carry your message to your congressional representatives. Terra preta will not be developed if we continue to follow a business as usual appraoch. Best wishes, Michael.

Michael J. Antal, Jr.
Coral Industries Distinguished Professor of Renewable Energy Resources
Hawaii Natural Energy Institute
School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST)
1680 East-West Rd., POST 109
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Honolulu, HI 96822
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#8952 - 10/31/06 08:19 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
After a brief search of Charcoal Wholesalers, The best price so far, for Ag-Grade Charcoal is, trucked from Missouri, $225/ton delivered 900 miles to Virginia, $125/ton at the Charcoal yard,


We need a grand convergence:
In academia; Engineering, agronomist, soil geologist,anthropologist, bio-chemist, mycologist, zoologist ..............................

In the Public sector; waste managers, Extension agents, Environmental engineers, Energy Policy makers,........................................

In the private Sector; corporate farms, fossil fuel generators, small farmers, and the few charcoal makers left (seems mostly in Missouri)

My efforts to promote this technology in my postings realy fall short compared to this by Dr. Danny Day at GIT:

http://www.eprida.com/hydro/yahoo2004.htm

" a global Manhattan project of
climate change.


What can you do? Read up on terra preta (some of the published works
made a part of the above patent application), look at references in
the Eprida website or convince yourself by testing. Grow your favorite
plant in two pots, one with 1/3 wood charcoal (soak this in fertilizer
for several days), 1/3 sand and 1/3 available soil. Plant the other
with your normal method for potting plants. Fertilize and watch them
grow. Watch it for three seasons and note the differences. (Many have
noted their best results in the second year as microbial populations
increase) Alternately, use a microbe/fungi inoculation to speed the
response.

Then tell everyone you know.Even if we can't stop avoid the climate
shift we will begun to build an awareness of a solution. If we broaden
the understanding that we can produce carbon negative fuels, scrub
fossil fuel exhaust of pollutants and C02, reverse the effect of
mining our soil, depleting soil carbon, trace minerals and losing
agricultural productivity then we will effect many generations to
come. In our lifetime, a 2000-year-old secret is being reborn and its
timeliness could never have been more appropriate. It now up to this
generation to embrace a plan to work with nature to restore lost soil
carbon and rebuild the incredible life at work in our soils. Working
together, we can achieve the possible."
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#8953 - 11/22/06 01:49 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
Of all the Energy/Climate solutions I've seen, short of a silver bullet like Fusion or Nano-tech Solar or Thermo-electric, This integrated energy strategy offered by Terra Preta Soil technology may provide the only path to sustain our agricultural and fossil fueled power
structure without climate degradation, A wholistic approach make winners out of all the many parties involved.

After a little more checking on the availability of Agricultural grade charcoal, ( dust to 1/2 inch,
high lignin feed stock, 4%- 7% moisture, and the lower the cook temperature the better.)

Kingsford Charcoal, may occasionally, at their retorts in West VA , over produce for their bricket manufacture use and may have loads available.

A.M. Leonard , a landscape supplier has 50 lb bags for $70

The Best small scale supply is the grommet "Natural Charcoals", no binders, chemicals, or coal, you do have to grind it up.

The low cook tempts ( 400-700 F) I understand to be important because what is not completely pyrolysised helps the microorganisms populate the small spaces in the char

Brickets are cooked 1500 F

Orchid growers use 20% char in the medium for Lady slippers


I am a landscape design/builder, with other interest in Bio-fuels. I found this Terra Preta work a few months ago and have been posting it around to science forums, local academics, soil science people, local farmers, and authors of relevant news stories.
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#8954 - 11/23/06 02:44 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere
Mike Kremer Offline

Megastar

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 1696
Loc: London UK
Hi Eric,
I'm not certain, nor can I find this on the Web,
but I seem to remember that a few seeds were planted in the Moon dust, sometime after its return. The findings were, that the seeds actually germinated stronger and better than control seeds in sterilised Earth soil.

You could look for growing using low pressure, which is also quite interesting.
http://www.universetoday.com/2006/10/10/gardening-for-the-moon/
_________________________
.

.
"You will never find a real Human being - Even in a mirror." ....Mike Kremer.



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#8955 - 12/08/06 12:17 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
The upcoming International Agrichar Initiative (IAI) conference is to be held at Terrigal, NSW, Australia in 2007. ( www.iaiconference.org )

I spoke with the author of a TP story in Solar Today , Ron Larson ,
http://www.solartoday.org/2006/nov_dec06/Chairs_CornerND06.pdf
he said he spoke with a major National Geographic editor-who is preparing a big article on TP. but Doesn't know when it will come out
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#17278 - 12/16/06 05:29 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
WOW.............This is the first I've seen of a pyrolysis process like Dr. Danny Day's on the market.

Dr. Day at GIT said these guys are going for large scale systems:

http://www.bestenergies.com/companies/bestpyrolysis.html



Edited by erich knight (12/16/06 05:30 PM)
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#17382 - 12/20/06 08:50 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
A writer/Bio-Dynamic farmer, Allan Balliett contacted me about my postings on TP.
His interest in TP for his own operations, and his persistent will , has lead to him being granted an interview with none other than Charles C. Mann , author of "1491". Here are some Questions and Suggestions I sent for his interview
He is writing the story for Acres USA
Acres U.S.A. -- A Voice for Eco-Agriculture


Questions:
1. Is Mr. Mann aware of Danny Day's Eprida work, that they are a social purpose firm, designing equipment and a business model that will not cost the farmer anything out of pocket and create a many fold increase in rural high pay employment.

And this commercial , larger industrial scale effort of a similar closed-loop pyrolysis system now on the market:
BEST Pyrolysis, Inc. | Slow Pyrolysis - Biomass - Clean Energy - Renewable Energy - Char - green coal - pelletized fuel - syngas for electrical generation - carbon credits - increases rural jobs and construction development


2. Given that, as Lehmann at Cornell points out, "systems such as Day's are the only way to make a fuel that is actually carbon negative". and that " a strategy combining biochar with biofuels could ultimately offset 9.5 billion tons of carbon per year-an amount equal to the total current fossil fuel emissions! "

What does Mr Mann suggest to implement the grand convergence we need for this technology to be brought front and center?:

In academia; among Engineers, agronomist, soil geologist,anthropologist, bio-chemist, mycologist, andzoologist ..............................?

In the Public sector; among waste managers, Extension agents, Environmental engineers, and Energy Policy makers,........................................?

In the private Sector; among corporate farms, fossil fuel producers, fossil fuel power generators, small farmers, and the few charcoal makers left.........................?



3. Does Mr. Mann know of any updated estimates of the total mass of soil flora and fauna?

This is the only one I have found , from 1998, only covering bacteria and is inclusive of marine sediments:

First-ever estimate of total bacteria on earth
ET 9/98: First-ever estimate of total bacteria on earth



SUGGESTIONS:

In E. O. Wilson's "The Future of Life" he opens the book with a letter to Thoreau updating him on our current understanding of the nature of the ecology of the soils at Walden Pond.

xvi / Prologue
" These arthropods are the giants of the microcosm (if you will allow me to continue what has turned into a short lecture). Creatures their size are present in dozens-hundreds, if an ant or termite colony is presents. But these are comparatively trivial numbers. If you focus down by a power of ten in size, enough to pick out animals barely visible to the naked eye, the numbers jump to thousands. Nematode and enchytraied pot worms, mites, springtails, pauropods, diplurans, symphylans, and tardigrades seethe in the underground. Scattered out on a white ground cloth, each crawling speck becomes a full-blown animal. Together they are far more striking and divers in appearance than snakes, mice, sparrows, and all the other vertebrates hereabouts combined. Their home is a labyrinth of miniature caves and walls of rotting vegetable debris cross-strung with ten yards of fungal threads. And they are just the surface of the fauna and flora at our feet. Keep going, keep magnifying until the eye penetrates microscopic water films on grains of sand, and there you will find ten billion bacteria in a thimbleful of soil and frass. You will have reached the energy base of the decomposer world as we understand it 150 years after you sojourn in Walden Woods."

This microcosm needs to be shown to the public. I suggest that Mr. Mann use his influence to convince an ecologically-minded Hollywood mogul to produce a DVD to add to his book jacket. A computer-generated film highlighting this dynamic ecology like those done of the flora and fauna of the Jurassic and Ice Age periods that you may have seen on the Science channels.
Here is an example that gives a great perspective on the scale of things, although not a video, but you get my point :
Molecular Expressions: Science, Optics and You - Secret Worlds: The Universe Within - Interactive Java Tutorial



GOOD LUCK with the interview!!

Erich
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#17398 - 12/20/06 04:57 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
Amaranth Rose II Offline

Superstar

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 895
Loc: Southeast Nebraska, USA
Erich,
Did you mean to include links with your posting? If so, it didn't work for me.
_________________________
If you don't care for reality, just wait a while; another will be along shortly. --A Rose


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#17449 - 12/23/06 10:17 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: Amaranth Rose II]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
First-ever estimate of total bacteria on earth
http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0998/et0998s8.html

Here is an example that gives a great perspective on the scale of things, although not a video, but you get my point :
Molecular Expressions: Science, Optics and You - Secret Worlds: The Universe Within
http://www.micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/index.html


A writer/Bio-Dynamic farmer, Allan Balliett is writing the story for Acres USA, doing an interview with Charles Mann ("1491")
Acres U.S.A. -- A Voice for Eco-Agriculture
http://www.acresusa.com/magazines/magazine.htm


Ron Larson's TP story
http://www.solartoday.org/2006/nov_dec06/Chairs_CornerND06.pdf
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#17454 - 12/23/06 03:07 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
Wolfman Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 264
Loc: Pago Pago, American Samoa
Somebody could be in for a Nobel Prize for this. When I was in Central America, I couldn't help but be saddened by the state of the Rain Forests in Belize, Guatemala and, to a lesser extent, Honduras. They've been clearing the Forest in an attempt to raise cattle. But the resulting soil (they call it marl) is so deficient in nutrients that grass can barely survive. Plus, they were observing a moratorium on cutting Mahogany Trees. You could cut and burn everything except Mahogany. So this is what you saw travelling along the road- Whispy grass (not lush Savanna) fighting for it's life with a few skinny cattle every mile or so hiding from the relentless sun in the shade of a big Mahogany Tree. Pitiful. Tragic.
Terra Preta might turn things around in those areas.

Top
#17456 - 12/23/06 03:25 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: Wolfman]
terrytnewzealand Offline
Megastar

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
I remember reading years ago something to the effect that in tropical forests nutrients tend to become concentrated in the vegetation. Lush forest may be growing on nothing more than the nutrients released by decaying vegetation. If the forest is burned the nutrients fly off into the atmosphere leaving the soil impoverished. This may help explain what is happening in Central America.

Certainly if no solution can be found to feeding the population in the tropics adequately we're collectively in trouble. I'm reminded of Dean Swift's comment in "Gulliver's Travels":

'And he gave it for his opinion, that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.'

For more from that genius see:

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/jonathan_swift.html


Edited by terrytnewzealand (12/23/06 03:32 PM)

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#17532 - 12/30/06 02:59 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: terrytnewzealand]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
RE: Nature Article -- the link given will not allow access without being a subscriber to Nature.

I posted it Before Nature started requiring a subscribing membership, here is a link to the original pdf version. The pdf version is still accessible without a membership.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v442/n7103/pdf/442624a.pdf
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#17571 - 01/05/07 12:30 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
Here is a non-Pdf link to the Nature article

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v442/n7103/full/442624a.html
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#17573 - 01/06/07 01:55 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
Amaranth Rose II Offline

Superstar

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 895
Loc: Southeast Nebraska, USA
It's still pay-per-view. How about a free link for us pofolks?
_________________________
If you don't care for reality, just wait a while; another will be along shortly. --A Rose


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#17776 - 01/20/07 10:01 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: Amaranth Rose II]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
OK !!!!! I finaly got one that will last

Here is a non-subscription link to the Nature story, I can't tell you how frustrating this link has been. At first Nature would allow you past it's paywall then blocked it . Then for awhile they allowed the pdf, but then blocked that. Now at least on the bestenergy site we won't have to re-do it.


http://bestenergies.com/downloads/naturemag_200604.pdf


Erich
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#17777 - 01/20/07 10:05 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
Time to Master the Carbon Cycle


Man has been controlling the carbon cycle , and there for the weather, since the invention of agriculture, all be it was as unintentional, as our current airliner contrails are in affecting global dimming. This unintentional warm stability in climate has over 10,000 years, allowed us to develop to the point that now we know what we did,............ and that now......... we are over doing it.

The prehistoric and historic records gives a logical thrust for soil carbon sequestration.
I wonder what the soil biome carbon concentration was REALLY like before the cutting and burning of the world's virgin forest, my guess is that now we see a severely diminished community, and that only very recent Ag practices like no-till and reforestation have started to help rebuild it. It makes implementing Terra Preta soil technology like an act of penitence, a returning of the misplaced carbon.

Energy, the carbon cycle and greenhouse gas management
http://www.computare.org/Support%20documents/Fora%20Input/CCC2006/Energy%20Paper%2006_05.htm


On the Scale of CO2 remediation:

It is my understanding that atmospheric CO2 stands at 379 PPM, to stabilize the climate we need to reduce it to 350 PPM by the removal of 230 Billion tons.

The best estimates I've found are that the total loss of forest and soil carbon (combined
pre-industrial and industrial) has been about 200-240 billion tons. Of
that, the soils are estimated to account for about 1/3, and the vegetation
the other 2/3.

Since man controls 24 billion tons in his agriculture then it seems we have plenty to work with in sequestering our fossil fuel co2 emissions as charcoal:
A preliminary analysis of CO2 emissions
http://www.eprida.com/hydro/powerplant.htm

As Dr. Lehmann at Cornell points out, "Closed-Loop Pyrolysis systems such as Dr. Danny Day's are the only way to make a fuel that is actually carbon negative". and that " a strategy combining biochar with biofuels could ultimately offset 9.5 billion tons of carbon per year-an amount equal to the total current fossil fuel emissions! "
http://www.css.cornell.edu/faculty/l...ochar_home.htm


Terra Preta Soils Technology: Carbon Negative Bio fuels and 3X Fertility Too



Edited by erich knight (01/20/07 10:08 PM)
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#17789 - 01/21/07 02:06 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
Amaranth Rose II Offline

Superstar

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 895
Loc: Southeast Nebraska, USA
Erich,
your last link got me a 404 not found error. Do you have another?

"Amaranth"
_________________________
If you don't care for reality, just wait a while; another will be along shortly. --A Rose


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#17913 - 01/30/07 08:21 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: Amaranth Rose II]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia

Biochar home

http://www.css.cornell.edu/faculty/lehmann/biochar/Biochar_home.htm

And Fossil fuel CO2 sequestering Amonia scrubbing tochnology:
http://www.eprida.com/hydro/powerplant.htm
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#18118 - 02/11/07 12:21 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
Mike Kremer Offline

Megastar

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 1696
Loc: London UK
Hi Erich,
I found another item for you.

"AMAZON SOIL TECHNIQUE REDUCES GREENHOUSE GASES"

Australian scientists are adapting a soil fertility technique used in the Amazon to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For thousands of years, Amazonian Indians burned their waste organic matter in low-intensity fires and added the charred material to their land.
The method improved fertility on intensively-managed soils, but is now being considered as a way of trapping excess carbon.

Researcher Lucas Van Zweiten says carbon can be stored for thousands of years.
"In composting, the majority of carbon in the composting process is lost naturally to microbial degradation to carbon dioxide," he said.

"In pyrolisys up to 50 per cent of carbon is maintained as char which can last for several thousand years in the soil."

From - http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/ - on Feb:9th '07

--------------------
"You will never find a real Human being - even in a mirror." .....Mike Kremer.
.
_________________________
.

.
"You will never find a real Human being - Even in a mirror." ....Mike Kremer.



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#18121 - 02/11/07 09:45 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: Mike Kremer]
Amaranth Rose II Offline

Superstar

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 895
Loc: Southeast Nebraska, USA
Mike,
Your link led me to a page that said index, but nothing was listed there. Do you have another link?
_________________________
If you don't care for reality, just wait a while; another will be along shortly. --A Rose


Top
#18130 - 02/12/07 01:15 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: Amaranth Rose II]
Mike Kremer Offline

Megastar

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 1696
Loc: London UK
Sorry all,
Here is the full Link,
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200702/s1844114.htm

Thanks Amaranth.
_________________________
.

.
"You will never find a real Human being - Even in a mirror." ....Mike Kremer.



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#18463 - 02/26/07 10:44 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: Mike Kremer]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
It has been immensely gratifying to see all the major players join the http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/?q=node
mail list , Cornell folks, T. Beer of Kings Ford, M-Roots guys, DOE chemical engineers, Dr. Danny Day & G.I.T. folks, BestEnergy and Dr. Antel of U.of H.


Here's a post that brings us up to date on TP research:

[Terrapreta] Terra Preta & Soil Quality
Janice Thies jet25 at cornell.edu
Sat Feb 24 19:41:01 CST 2007

Previous message: [Terrapreta] Terra Preta & Pigs
Next message: [Terrapreta] Terra Preta & Soil Quality
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear All,

I am extremely heartened by the very positive response to the idea of using
of biochar in agriculture and horticulture and appreciate your desires to
put it to immediate beneficial use in these systems.

My name is Janice Thies. I am a soil microbial ecologist. I have been
working with Johannes Lehmann at Cornell University for the past 6 years on
various aspects of terra preta (microbial ecology in its natural state) and
agrichar (how microbial populations respond to adding biochar to soil). It
took us three years to convince the National Science Foundation that we
were on to something here and to obtain funding for some of the basic
research that is necessary for us to provide the data needed to answer your
questions with confidence. Hence, we are several years behind where we
could have been if funding had been available earlier. Even now, we
continue to seek support for doing the types of tests many of you are most
interested in. The results of our NSF funded research are just now being
published or written up, but we are still a long way from being able to
answer everything.

Currently, there are 10 research laboratories around the world that are
testing char made from bamboo that was prepared at 5 different temperatures
in the range we believe is likely to provide char that will be most
beneficial for both plant production and C sequestration purposes. Rob
Flannigan prepared the char in China and has engaged us all to do a wide
range of testing on it. So, we should have some news about what
temperature range might be best reasonably soon, but it is still early days.

One of the reasons that Dr. Lehmann recommends caution in the use of
biochar can be seen in the paper recently published by Christoph Steiner et
al., mentioned in previous messages. He did get excellent plant growth
responses to adding biochar - as long as mineral fertilizer was also used.
When you look at plant growth in the biochar only treatment, growth was
worse than doing nothing at all (check plots). In the nutrient-poor and
highly leached soils of the tropics, the added biochar likely bound
whatever nutrients were present in the soil solution and these became
unavailable for plant uptake. These results should make you cautious as
well. How fertile a soil needs to be for biochar not to reduce plant growth
or exactly how much fertilizer and/or compost should be added to be sure
there is good, sustained release of nutrients, will likely vary soil to
soil and we simply do not have these data available at present to make
proper recommendations. So, keep this in mind as you do your own trials
with your own soils or mixes. Try to follow good design practices for your
trials, with replicates, so that you can judge for yourself what amount and
type of biochar works best in combination with what amounts and types of
fertilizers or composts you use (depending on the philosophy behind your
cultural practices).

As to the 'wee beasties' or 'critters' as I like to call them, we have made
progress on this front over the last several years. Brendan O'Neill and
Julie Grossman in my laboratory, Sui Mai Tsai, our Brazilian collaborator
at CENA and the University of Sao Paulo, and Biqing Liang, and many others
in Johannes Lehmann's laboratory have been characterizing microbial
populations in three different terra preta soils and comparing these to the
adjacent, unmodified soils near by to them. Brendan found that populations
of culturable bacteria and fungi are higher in the terra preta soils, as
compared to the unmodified soils, in all cases. Yet, Biqing found that the
respiratory activity of these populations is lower (see Liang et al.,
2006), even when fresh organic matter is added. This alone means that the
turnover of organic matter is slower in the terra preta soils - suggesting
that the presence of black C in the terra pretas is helping to stabilize
labile organic matter and is itself not turning over in the short
term. All good news for C sequestration. However, since the respiratory
activity is lower (slower decomposition), this may lead to slower release
of other mineral nutrient associated with the fresh organic inputs. In some
circumstances this is a good thing (maintaining nutrient release over the
growing season), in other circumstances (more immobilization), perhaps
not. We need more work on this to understand the implications of these
results more fully.

Julie Grossman, Brendan O'Neill, Lauren McPhillips and Dr. Tsai have all
been working on the molecular ecology of these soils along with me. So
far, what we know is that both bacterial and fungal communities differ
strongly between the terra pretas and the unmodified soils, but that the
populations are similar between the terra preta soils. These results are
both interesting and encouraging. First, that the terra preta soils
(sampled from sites many kilometers apart) are more similar to each other
than to their closest unmodified soil (sampled within 500 m) tells us that
the conditions in the terra pretas encourage the colonization of these
soils by similar groups of organisms that are adapted them. Our group has
been working on cloning and sequencing both isolates from the terra preta
soils and DNA extracted directly from them. A number of bacteria that were
isolated only from the terra preta soils are related to the actinomycetes,
but have not yet been described yet and are not very closely related to
other sequences of known organisms in the public genetic databases. This is
also very interesting. Some of you will know that actinomycetes have many
unusual metabolic capabilities and can degrade a very wide range of
substrates. Also, many are thermophilic and play important roles in the
composting process. We have yet to fully characterize these organisms, but
are optimistic that in time we can make some recommendations about what
organisms or combinations of organisms might make a good inoculant for
container-based biochar use. Two papers describing these results are in
their final editing stages and will be submitted for publication in the
journal 'Microbial Ecology' within the next few weeks. So, keep an eye out
for them in several months time.

I want to add a word of caution about getting too excited about glomalin.
Another of my students, Daniel Clune, has been working on this topic and
his work suggests that the glycoprotein referred to as 'glomalin' in the
literature - operationally defined as the protein extractable in a citrate
buffer with repeated autoclaving - is not what it has been purported to be.
First, the proteins extractable by this method are from a wide range of
sources, not just arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Second, it has a shorter
turnover time than has been suggested. Third, in a test with hundreds of
samples taken from field trials varying in age from 7 to 12 to 34 years,
its relationship with aggregate stability is suggestive at best. Dan's work
is also being written up right now and should also be submitted for
publication soon.

Some field trials with bamboo char have been conducted in China, with very
positive results. Look for upcoming papers from Dr. Zheng of the Bamboo
Institute in Hangzhou. Another student in my laboratory, Hongyan Jin, is
working with the soils from this experiment to characterize the abundance,
activity and diversity of the soil bacteria and archaea. Her first results
will be presented at the upcoming conference on Agrichar to be held in
Terrigal, NSW, Australia, at the end of April/beginning of May this year.
Please be sure to see her poster should you attend this conference.

Lastly, from my personal gardening experiences, I use spent charcoal from
the filters of the 14 aquaria I maintain for my viewing pleasure. I combine
it as about 5% of my mix with 65% peat moss, 10% vermicompost (from my worm
bin in my basement where I compost all my household kitchen waste - aged
and stabilized, not fresh!), 5-10% leaf mulch (composted on my leafy
property in NY), 5-7% perlite to increase drainage, decrease bulk density
and improve water retention and percolation, and some bone meal and blood
meal (to taste :-) ). This makes an excellent potting mix for my indoor
'forest'. I am very much still playing around with this.

I hope this very long posting helps those of you feeling frustrated and
wanting answers. Many labs are working on many fronts, but it is early
days and we are trying to answer some fundamental questions first and then
use the information to guide our field tests and recommendations.

I hope to meet some of you at the Agrichar Conference (see details at the
conference website) http://www.iaiconference.org/images/IAI_brochure_5.pdf
The Cornell work and that of many of our colleagues in Brazil, China, the
US, Australia and elsewhere will be presented, along with that of many
others actively working on agrichar production and use around the world.

Good luck with your own testing and kind regards,

Janice Thies -
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#21741 - 05/21/07 11:48 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
In Focus
May 15, 2007
Special Report: Inspired by Ancient Amazonians, a Plan to Convert Trash into Environmental Treasure
New bill in U.S. Senate will advocate adoption of "agrichar" method that could lessen our dependence on fossil fuel and help avert global warming
By Anne Casselman

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=5670236C-E7F2-99DF-3E2163B9FB144E40


My Latest opening to my TP Postings;


The main hurtle now is to change the current perspective held by the IPCC that the soil carbon cycle is a wash, to one in which soil can be used as a massive and ubiquitous Carbon sink via Charcoal. Below are the first concrete steps in that direction;

Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.
Potential Carbon Emissions Reductions from Biomass by 2030
by Ralph P. Overend, Ph.D. and Anelia Milbrandt
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
http://www.ases.org/climatechange/toc/07_biomass.pdf


The organization 25x25 (see 25x'25 - Home) released it's (first-ever, 55-page )"Action Plan" ; see http://www.25x25.org/storage/25x25/d...ActionPlan.pdf
On page 31, as one of four foci for recommended RD&D, the plan lists: "The development of biochar, animal agriculture residues and other non-fossil fuel based fertilizers, toward the end of integrating energy production with enhanced soil quality and carbon sequestration."
and on p 32, recommended as part of an expanded database aspect of infrastructure: "Information on the application of carbon as fertilizer and existing carbon credit trading systems."

I feel 25x25 is now the premier US advocacy organization for all forms of renewable energy, but way out in front on biomass topics.


There are 24 billion tons of carbon controlled by man in his agriculture , I forgot the % that is waste, but when you add all the other cellulose waste which is now dumped to rot or digested or combusted and ultimately returned to the atmosphere as GHG, the balanced number is around 24 Billion tons. So we have plenty of bio-mass.

Even with all the big corporations coming to the GHG negotiation table, like Exxon, Alcoa, .etc, we still need to keep watch as they try to influence how carbon management is legislated in the USA. Carbon must have a fair price, that fair price and the changes in the view of how the soil carbon cycle now can be used as a massive sink verses it now being viewed as a wash, will be of particular value to farmers and a global cool breath of fresh air for us all.



If you have any other questions please feel free to call me or visit the TP web site I've been drafted to administer. http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/?q=node
It has been immensely gratifying to see all the major players join the mail list , Cornell folks, T. Beer of Kings Ford Charcoal (Clorox), Novozyne the M-Roots guys(fungus), chemical engineers, Dr. Danny Day of G. I. T. , Dr. Antal of U. of H., Virginia Tech folks and probably many others who's back round I don't know have joined.

Also Here is the Latest BIG Terra Preta Soil news;
ConocoPhillips Establishes $22.5 Million Pyrolysis Program at Iowa State 04/10/07

http://www.conocophillips.com/newsroom/news_releases/2007+News+Releases/041007.htm
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#21742 - 05/22/07 12:33 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
Amaranth Rose II Offline

Superstar

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 895
Loc: Southeast Nebraska, USA
Erich,
Your third link gave me a "404 NOT FOUND" error. Do you have another link?

Amaranth
_________________________
If you don't care for reality, just wait a while; another will be along shortly. --A Rose


Top
#21745 - 05/22/07 02:53 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
samwik Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1132
Loc: Colorado
I recall seeing these posts last fall. At the time I thought it sounded like a good idea, but I didn't know enough about global warming to see how it fit in.

Guess I'll have to check out these links. It seems to be based on the same concepts that I've been pushing on the Climate Change Forum.

"Sustainable productivity is more important than focusing on cutting GHG emissions." -

Below is from a post on the Climate Change Forum, "Peat Bogs to solve Warming?"
It was written a bit tounge in cheek, as obviously one item (bogs) can't solve warming; but the general idea was to manage the vast reservoirs of Carbon on Earth in such a way as to soak up a little extra. That little extra would be more than equivalent to anthropogenically produced amounts.

"Bogs are a good example of earth in general, they both absorb and emit lots of CO2 (and come close to balancing in the long term).

I think it's something like 130 GtC/yr that exchanges on a yearly basis (terrestrial only). Humans emit about 7 GtC/yr. If we could shift that balance (130 Gt exchange) just a couple of percent, we could sequester as much as we produce. Of course that would mean watering our 'lawns' much more than we do now (worldwide). And overall, the earth is drying out. So...I'm not a "Doom & Gloom" kind of guy either, but it's hard not to be....

Maybe grow a backyard bog (or any wetland)....

Which also leads me to ask about the oceans as an HNL (whole 'nother level).
Oceans are maybe larger than 130 GtC/yr. exchange (which also are not healthy, growing absorbers anymore) IMHO.

I still think that both oceans and lands have shifted to be net producers of CO2 overall (due to human activities)."
-S. (post#21500)

Thanks,

~Samwik

"...if we are to secure a sustainable world for our grandchildren". -Sir Harry Kroto
Thanks rede, right on!
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21990 - 06/09/07 01:54 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: samwik]
samwik Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1132
Loc: Colorado
http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20070504224521data_trunc_sys.shtml

Quote:
sheesh, I spent 10 minutes looking for this Topic on the Climate Change Forum


If we do nothing but cut emissions, it'll take hundreds of years to recover; but if we actively reduce levels on a yearly basis, recovery could be a lot quicker.

Thus, consistent with the idea of enhancing planetary scale carbon sinks, here's an example:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-05/nswd-son053107.php

Quote:



The huge potential of agricultural soils to reduce greenhouse gases and increase production at the same time has been reinforced by new research findings at NSW Department of Primary Industries' (DPI) Wollongbar Agricultural Institute.

[The technique used in Australia takes organic matter or biomass, including green or feedlot wastes, and converts them to char during pyrolysis, a thermo-chemical process conducted in the absence of oxygen. The bulk of the feed material is converted during pyrolysis into a high-carbon char material which is far more stable than the original biomass, effectively sequestering the carbon and removing it from the greenhouse cycle.]

"For the environment, it means soil carbon emissions can be reduced because rapidly decomposing carbon forms are being replaced by stable ones in the form of agrichar."
"Labile carbon like crop residue, mulch and compost is likely to last two or three years, while stable carbon like agrichar will last up to hundreds of years."

[Scientist Lukas Van Zwieten, from the New South Wales Department of Primary Industry, said soils naturally turn over about 10 times more greenhouse gas on a global scale than the burning of fossil fuels. "So it is not surprising there is so much interest in a technology to create clean energy that also locks up carbon in the soil for the long term and lifts agricultural production," he said.]

"Soil biology improved, the need for added fertiliser reduced and water holding capacity was raised," he said. The trials also measured gases given off from the soils and found significantly lower emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide (a greenhouse gas more than 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide).





I think there are many examples of this sort of synergistic solution out there ...and there are possibilities to help the oceans while sequestering CO2 also.

...and these solutions would address 10's of gigatonnes (as opposed to the fractions of a gigatonne that emission control and conservation measures will cut).

Again, I do also think emissions need to be cut; but that's all I ever see anyone talk about, and that's such a tiny fraction of what we could sequester, with technology and "best management practices."

If we really think high CO2 levels are the problem, we should focus on reducing those levels; not just trying to slow the accelerating increase.

As a species, we'll adapt (~a million? of us will); but as for civilization, rapid climate change is the real threat to its survival (other than nuclear war, epidemics, famines) ...which of course are made more likely by rapid climate change.

Later, I hope!
~SA
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

Top
#23453 - 09/13/07 01:04 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: samwik]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
thought the current news and links on Terra Preta soils and closed-loop pyrolysis would interest you.
SCIAM Article May 15 07;

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=5670236C-E7F2-99DF-3E2163B9FB144E40

After many years of reviewing solutions to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) I believe this technology can manage Carbon for the greatest collective benefit at the lowest economic price, on vast scales. It just needs to be seen by ethical globally minded companies.

Could you please consider looking for a champion for this orphaned Terra Preta Carbon Soil Technology.

The Honolulu Advertiser: “The nation's leading manufacturer of charcoal has licensed a University of Hawai'i process for turning green waste into barbecue briquets.”

About a year ago I got Clorox interested in TP soils and Dr. Antal's Plasma Carbonazation process.

See: http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007707280348

Mechabolic , a pyrolysis machine built in the form of a giant worm to eat solid waste and product char & fuel at the "Burning Man" festival ; http://whatiamupto.com/mechabolic/index.html

Karl Schroeder , a Sci-Fi writer has seen the TP vision , although it's The Kayopo (Spelling?) who should be getting the credit verses the Mayan. Months ago I nominated them to Richard Branson for a posthumous Carbon Prize.



http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/950/

: You mention 'agrichar' in your Billion Dollars wishlist. That's not something I was very familiar with (though I think I got the gist of it after a little quick Google search). Can you tell us a little more about it (and why it's important or useful), or suggest a good website or link for more information for readers who would like to learn more about this?

Karl Schroeder: Agrichar is a modern version of "Terra Preta" which was used centuries ago in the Amazon basin to allow the nutrient-poor soils there to produce lavish crops. It's basically a burn-and-bury process that sequesters carbon, replaces commercial fertilizers, revives dying soils, and all in all is a perfect technique for long-term sustainable soil health. Simple enough that the Mayans could perfect it, with the potential to be used all over the world. It's a pretty new process so there's not too many sources of information out there about it, unfortunately. But it's precisely the sort of transformative technology we need.


Here's an image of a wood sculpture sent to me by Jerard Pearson, a crop/compost artist who is planning a large scale charcoal / Chalk piece of field art at the state fair grounds near Omaha. He has been trying to buy Char from T. Beer at Kingsford, but getting no response. He plans to use a hydro-seeder with a mixture of Char and cellulose mulch as a wet "air brush" to paint the field. I hope it will draw some media attention for TP soils.

This wood sculpture, in my mind, conjures up inoculant spores carried aboard the "char delivery vehicle" beginning the process of sending out hyphae. Gorgeous.

Check out the other wood sculptures by this Frenchman dude. Pretty cool.

http://www.mailland.fr/html/the_village.html


Getting Char into the soil;

The Rotocult Horizontal Cultivator is being hailed in all sectors of the agricultural industry as a revolution that has now provided farmers with an 'alternative' to using the "traditional" methods of cultivation. It's a Horizontal orbital action which slices the earth, incorporates trash without cultivating the inner space resulting in less soil disturbance, greater moisture retention, significant fuel and time savings and less maintenance. Now with one double row cultivator it is possible for one man and a single machine to cultivate up to 1 hectare per hour with a single pass and follow up with a planter almost immediately.


http://www.rotocult.com/



Here is a reply I just received from the inventor;



"Thank you for your email Erich. It was very interesting reading.

Rotocult can cultivate to a depth of 18” while incorporating organic matter in one pass.

Should you require detailed information or a movie CD please contact us.

Regards,

John Wilkinson

C.E.O.

Natascha Wilkinson

WILKINSON’S BLACKSMITH’S

1 Gill Street

Atherton Qld 4883

Ph: 07 4091 1833

Fax: 07 4091 1653

Email: tash@wilkinsons.com.au

Web: www.rotocult.com





Erich J. Knight
Shenandoah Gardens
1047 Dave Berry Rd.
McGaheysville, VA. 22840
(540) 289-9750
shengar@aol.com



_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#23604 - 09/25/07 12:04 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
From Michael on the Holography Forum;
[url=lhttp://forums.hypography.com/terra-preta/10561-opinion-what-challenges-terra-preta-5.html]lhttp://forums.hypography.com/terra-preta/10561-opinion-what-challenges-terra-preta-5.html[/url]


A Good simple, well written, clear, article worth reading and sending on to any agriculture organization;


Show us the money
Carbon-Friendly Farming

The Carbon Farmers - Features - The Lab - Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Gateway to Science


And Michael's Pottery speculations on Permaculture;

"I used to live near a crazy potter. He built his own kiln but loved to open fire pottery occasionally. He made a gigantic bonfire with the pottery inside. All sorts of "arty" and interesting effects were produced by open firing.
Also a lot of breakages.
It this how Amazonian discovered char?
Is this why there is lots of Pottery in Terra preta?"

http://forums.permaculture.org.au/viewtopic.php?p=35061#35061




_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#23684 - 09/30/07 07:52 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
Rallem Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 194
Loc: South Royalton, Vermont
Very interesting. I hope this goes main stream soon.

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#25072 - 03/09/08 02:41 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: Rallem]
samwik Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1132
Loc: Colorado
Amazonian Dark Earths: Explorations in Space and Time
Dr. Bruno Glaser & Prof. William I. Woods (Eds.)
Springer, 2004

Now on Kindle!
I'm sure happy (w/ lots to read).

Erich, This is the book!
Section 8 is by the author you mention....

Sequential P Fractionation on Relict Anthropogenic Dark Earth of Amazonia:
Johannes Lehmann, et al.
smile
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

Top
#25078 - 03/11/08 02:29 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: samwik]
samwik Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1132
Loc: Colorado
....hmmmm. I ran across this (part of a) bibliography while reading some paper on "historical ecology."

Lehmann, J., Campos, C.V., Macedo, J.L.V., & German, L. (2003a). Sequential P fractionation and sources of P in Amazonian Dark Earths. In B. Glaser, & W.I. Woods (Eds.), Explorations in Amazonian Dark Earths (in press). Berlin: Springer.

Lehmann, J., Kern, D.C., German, L., McCann, J., Martins, G.C., & Moreira, A. (2003b). Soil fertility and production potential. In J. Lehmann, D.C. Kern, B. Glaser, W.I. Woods (Eds.), Amazonian Dark Earths: Origin, Properties, Management (pp. 105-124). The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.


Now, the first entry refers to Sect.8 of the book I have on my Kindle.
But I think the book that I've seen referenced before (re: TP soils, ADE's) is described by the second entry.
Does this sound right?

Looks as if the "in press" version had its title updated a bit ("Explorations in Space and Time" does sound more snappy than Explorations in Amazonian Dark Earths).

p.s.
Section 15 is:
...by Christoph Steiner et al. (including, J. Lehmann),
Microbial Response to Charcoal Amendments of Highly Weathered Soils and Amazonian Dark Earths in Central Amazonia
mmmmmmm, yummmm. wink
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#26941 - 06/30/08 10:07 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: samwik]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I hope you will come to share my passion in getting the word out on the wonderful solutions provided by TP soils.
I'm sort of the TP list cub reporter, most all my list postings, under shengar@aol.com, are news items, collaborative work, lobbying efforts with government, writers and journals.

Bellow are my collected stories and links that I promiscuously post to anyone who has an iron in this fire.

Thanks for your interest

Cheers,
Erich


the current news and links on Terra Preta (TP) soils and closed-loop pyrolysis of Biomass, this integrated virtuous cycle could sequester 100s of Billions of tons of carbon to the soils.

This technology represents the most comprehensive, low cost, and productive approach to long term stewardship and sustainability.Terra Preta Soils a process for Carbon Negative Bio fuels, massive Carbon sequestration, 10X Lower CH4 & N2O soil emissions, and 3X Fertility Too.
Indeed, Dr. James Hansen, NASA's top Atmospheric authorty, is now placing it in the center stage of pro-active solutions for the climate crisis.

UN Climate Change Conference: Biochar present at the Bali Conference

http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/steinerbalinov2107



SCIAM Article May 15 07;

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=5670236C-E7F2-99DF-3E2163B9FB144E40



After many years of reviewing solutions to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) I believe this technology can manage Carbon for the greatest collective benefit at the lowest economic price, on vast scales. It just needs to be seen by ethical globally minded companies.

Could you please consider looking for a champion for this orphaned Terra Preta Carbon Soil Technology.

The main hurtle now is to change the current perspective held by the IPCC that the soil carbon cycle is a wash, to one in which soil can be used as a massive and ubiquitous Carbon sink via Charcoal. Below are the first concrete steps in that direction;

S.1884 – The Salazar Harvesting Energy Act of 2007

A Summary of Biochar Provisions in S.1884:

Carbon-Negative Biomass Energy and Soil Quality Initiative

for the 2007 Farm Bill

http://www.biochar-international.org/newinformationevents/newlegislation.html

Bolstering Biomass and Biochar development: In the 2007 Farm Bill, Senator Salazar was able to include $500 million for biomass research and development and for competitive grants to develop the technologies and processes necessary for the commercial production of biofuels and bio-based products. Biomass is an organic material, usually referring to plant matter or animal waste. Using biomass for energy can reduce waste and air pollution. Biochar is a byproduct of producing energy from biomass. As a soil treatment, it enhances the ability of soil to capture and retain carbon dioxide.

( Update; In conference the $500 M was cut to $3M....:( frown frown )


Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.
Potential Carbon Emissions Reductions from Biomass by 2030by Ralph P. Overend, Ph.D. and Anelia Milbrandt
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

http://www.ases.org/climatechange/toc/07_biomass.pdf

The organization 25x25 released it's (first-ever, 55-page )"Action Plan" ; see; http://www.25x25.org/storage/25x25/documents/IP%20Documents/ActionPlanFinalWEB_04-19-07.pdf
On page 29 , as one of four foci for recommended RD&D, the plan lists: "The development of biochar, animal agriculture residues and other non-fossil fuel based fertilizers, toward the end of integrating energy production with enhanced soil quality and carbon sequestration."
and on p 32, recommended as part of an expanded database aspect of infrastructure: "Information on the application of carbon as fertilizer and existing carbon credit trading systems."

I feel 25x25 is now the premier US advocacy organization for all forms of renewable energy, but way out in front on biomass topics.



There are 24 billion tons of carbon controlled by man in his agriculture and waste stream, all that farm & cellulose waste which is now dumped to rot or digested or combusted and ultimately returned to the atmosphere as GHG should be returned to the Soil.

Even with all the big corporations coming to the GHG negotiation table, like Exxon, Alcoa, .etc, we still need to keep watch as they try to influence how carbon management is legislated in the USA. Carbon must have a fair price, that fair price and the changes in the view of how the soil carbon cycle now can be used as a massive sink verses it now being viewed as a wash, will be of particular value to farmers and a global cool breath of fresh air for us all.

If you have any other questions please feel free to call me or visit the TP web site I've been drafted to co-administer. http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/?q=node

It has been immensely gratifying to see all the major players join the mail list , Cornell folks, T. Beer of Kings Ford Charcoal (Clorox), Novozyne the M-Roots guys(fungus), chemical engineers, Dr. Danny Day of EPRIDA , Dr. Antal of U. of H., Virginia Tech folks and probably many others who's back round I don't know have joined.



Also Here is the Latest BIG Terra Preta Soil news;

The Honolulu Advertiser: "The nation's leading manufacturer of charcoal has licensed a University of Hawai'i process for turning green waste into barbecue briquets."

See: http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/antalkingsford

ConocoPhillips Establishes $22.5 Million Pyrolysis Program at Iowa State
http://www.conocophillips.com/newsroom/news_releases/2007news/04-10-2007.htm

Glomalin, the recently discovered soil protien, may be the secret to to TP soils productivity;

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2003/030205.htm

Mycorrhizae Inoculent;

http://www.mycorrhizae.com/


The International Biochar Initiative (IBI) conference held at Terrigal, NSW, Australia in 2007. The papers from this conference are posted at their home page; http://www.biochar-international.org/home.html


Top
#27120 - 07/14/08 11:00 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: Anonymous]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Dr. James Hansen, NASA's top Atmospheric authorty, is now placing it in the center stage of pro-active solutions for the climate crisis.
Given his tenacity , I expect some real traction from this endorsement of Biochar.

http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0804/0804.1126.pdf

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#27123 - 07/15/08 12:05 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: Anonymous]
samwik Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1132
Loc: Colorado
Thanks Mucho.... smile

"...for the range of climate states between glacial conditions and ice-free Antarctica."
Wow; relating conditions 50 Mya to CO2 levels is really something; but regardless of the scale of comparison....
.
.
.
The penultimate sentence from the Abstract (seems a bit awkward; maybe it started out as two sentences?):
"An initial 350 ppm CO2 target may be achievable by phasing out coal use except where
CO2 is captured
and adopting agricultural and forestry practices that sequester carbon."

It sounds ...or maybe it's just me... as if he sees coal-use sequestration as separate from the "agricultural and forestry practices that sequester carbon."

Certainly there are methods to "scrub" CO2 out of coal-use emissions, and there are better technological methods being developed; but we could, right now, just use the bio-based (agricultural and forestry practices) sequestration of CO2 to offset the coal-fired power plant emissions.

Bio-based sequestration could rapidly reduced CO2 levels, even with increasing emissions,
if done on a large enough scale. IMHO

...but not let up on the CO2 abatement technology either.
smile

Thanks again for the link!
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

Top
#27173 - 07/18/08 01:05 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: samwik]
samwik Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1132
Loc: Colorado
From the previous page:
http://www.scienceagogo.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=26941#Post26941
Lots of good links and updates on TP !

...with these two updated links to be substituted:
http://www.ases.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=107&Itemid=16
http://www.25x25.org/

Thanks again Erich!
===
smile

Also wanted to repeat (maybe in a more appropriate place):

Learning from the Past to Improve the Future

http://magazine-directory.com/Archaeology.htm

ARCHAEOLOGY A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Volume 61 Number 4, July/August 2008
Amazonian Harvest: Can prehistoric farming methods lead us to a sustainable future?
by Mara Hvistendahl

"If we were to apply [pre-Columbian] techniques, it would be much better for the world...."

"This is like finding potsherds," he says. The leaf belongs to the cacao tree, which grows throughout this part of the country, the Beni, in circular patches called forest islands--telltale signs, he believes, of early settlement.
Erickson has worked in Bolivia and Peru for three decades, and he hopes his research will bring the lessons of the past to bear on the present, perhaps guiding sustainable agriculture here and across the globe. He is part of a growing group of archaeologists who are engaging and helping shape the communities in which they work, but a few decades ago, other scholars would have thought him crazy.

"He sees forest islands supplemented with raised fields of corn, tobacco, beans, and pumpkin--an agricultural cornucopia that will enrich the earth for future generations."
===

...like a Garden of Eden?
This article also mentions Bio-char and Amazonian Dark Earths, Terra Pretta.

The evidence in this article confirms scenarios presented in the book, 1491 IMHO.

...and while Hansen mentions the large carbon sequestration potential of forest and agricultural lands,
Bio-char can turn marginal, unproductive, even acid and/or aluminum laden soils, into dark rich productive farmlands.

In addition to converting marginal soils into large carbon sinks, Bio-char can double or triple the CO2 sequestration (along with the productivity) of many agricultural soils and some forest soils, while reducing nitrogen and methane emissions from those soils.

...as long as Water Management, the ultimate challenge, is included.
wink
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

Top
#27930 - 10/03/08 09:26 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: samwik]
samwik Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1132
Loc: Colorado
Carbon isotopes also record drought, Springer added, because drier soils slow biological activity. This causes the soil to “breathe less, changing the mix of light and heavy carbon atoms in it,” he said.

http://news.research.ohiou.edu/news/index.php?item=503

Despite the other implications from this article,

...here is a key to understanding how to measure CO2 sequestration in soil.

~ more later, I hope.
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

Top
#28274 - 11/09/08 05:47 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: samwik]
Science010101
Unregistered


Interesting ...

Science010101
listening to "separate isotopes" by Whitechapelonian

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#28283 - 11/10/08 12:23 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Total CO2 Equivalence:
Even before the total CO2 equivalent credits are validated they should be on the product label. Once a commercial bagged soil amendment product, every suburban household can do it,
The label can tell them of their contribution, a 40# bag = 150# CO2 = 160 bags / year to cover my personal CO2 emissions.( 20,000 #/yr , 1/2 average)
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html

Full carbon credit validation should easily follow the path that has garnered carbon credits for no-till practices.

But that is just the Carbon!
I have yet to find a total CO2 equivalent number taking consideration against some average field N2O & CH4 emissions. The New Zealand work shows 10X reductions.
If biochar also proves to be effective at reducing nutrient run-off from agricultural soils, then there will also be a reduction in downstream N2O emissions .


This ACS study implicates soil structure / N2O connection;
http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2008am/webprogram/Paper41955.html


Biochar at ACS;

Most all this work corroborates char dynamics we have seen so far . The soil GHG emissions work showing increased CO2 , also speculates that this CO2 has to get through the hungry plants above before becoming a GHG.
The SOM, MYC& Microbes, N2O (soil structure), CH4 , nutrient holding , Nitrogen shock, humic compound conditioning, absorbing of herbicides all pretty much what we expected to hear.

Biochar Studies at ACS Huston meeting;

578-I: http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2008am/webprogram/Session4231.html

579-II http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2008am/webprogram/Session4496.html

665 - III. http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2008am/webprogram/Session4497.html

666-IV http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2008am/webprogram/Session4498.html


Biochar Grants:

http://www.biochar-international.org/policyintheus.html

CSREES Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI)
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/business/reporting/stakeholder/an_stakeholder_afri.html


Sustainable Agriculture;

The goals of sustainable agriculture are to provide a more profitable farm income, to promote environmental stewardship, and to enhance the quality of life for farm families and their communities. CSREES promotes sustainable agriculture through national program leadership and funding for research and extension. It offers competitive grants programs and a professional development program, and it collaborates with other federal agencies through the USDA Sustainable Development Council.

http://www.csrees.usda.gov/sustainableagriculture.cfm

Natural Resources & Environment (NRE), ( this seems the best fit for Biochar)
NRE programs strengthen the nation's capacity to address critical environmental priorities and contribute to improved air, soil, and water quality; fish and wildlife management; enhanced aquatic and other ecosystems; the sustainable use and management of forests, rangelands, watersheds, and other renewable natural resources; and a better understanding of global climate change, including its impact on the diversity of plant and animal life. NRE programs also demonstrate the benefits and opportunities of sustainable development, and contribute to the economic viability of agriculture and rural communities realizing the impact of environmental policies and regulations.

http://www.csrees.usda.gov/nea/nre/nre_all.html


Erich J. Knight
Shenandoah Gardens
1047 Dave Berry Rd.
McGaheysville, VA. 22840
540 289 9750

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#28284 - 11/10/08 12:34 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: Anonymous]
Anonymous
Unregistered


First Bagged Biochar product;

The Carbon Char Group's new web site

Check out the Carbon negitive bird seed video

This group has the broadest experience working with chars in the soil.
They have drawn talented people long associated with the biochar companies ( long that is in biochar years, 6 years)

Jon Nilsson ; worked with Eprida at one time, is the main man in CCG.

"Charcoal bob" Hawkins ; works with Danny Day, he's on some of the CCG's research papers
Also Dr. Kriss Nichols; ARS glomalin researcher, doing carbon sequestration validation studies with Jon.
Rebecca Ogelsby; works with Eprida

An idea whose time has come | Carbon Char Group
http://www.carbonchar.com/
Erich

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#29869 - 03/16/09 04:14 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
samwik Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1132
Loc: Colorado
Thanks Erich,
Now that a greener agenda might move forward in the US, maybe we'll see some progress on this front that immediatly addresses CO2 currently in the atmosphere, in addition to the high-tech solutions that focus on future emissions.

I caught Al Gore on CSPAN a few weeks ago. Here is a bit of what he said:
Originally Posted By: Al Gore testifying before the Senate Foreign Relation Committee (1/28/09)

...from: Questions following the prepared statement--
[see Al's response below Sen. Lugar's question]

Senator Dick Lugar, R-Ind., Ranking Member:
[after speaking about the virtues of GMO's--in a climatically challenged world, Senator Lugar spoke about the pricing of carbon, and trading carbon as a commodity]

On the farm situation, likewise, the need for building support in the public is obvious. The Pew Foundation's recent report, that is often cited, listed Global Warming, or Climate Change, as number twenty out of 20 issues that were important to the public now. There may be other months in which the poll does better--not in an economic crisis.
But I'm impressed with the fact that the Chicago Climate Exchange--maybe as a prelude to some type of cap-and-trade, or carbon pricing system, in our country--has at least established a price for carbon.
I've become--our farm has become a member of this (or an?) exchange; we are a potential seller of carbon. It is sequestered in our hardwood trees, which has been measured as we planted them.
....
This is a very small beginning , but it's an important one....

I mention all of this because we'll have debates about it again; and we get back to the fact--that does anybody really understand how to price, how the exchange occurs, who the suppliers are, are they valid suppliers?
The carbon in my hardwood trees-- really--carbon is sequestered? Well, I think that it is.

We think about no-till planting likewise, in this respect. The National Farmers Union came together for a press conference, in which I participated last year, and they were interested in the sequestering of carbon in the soil and how not to disturb it. How can we go about doing this?
To the extent that this becomes an income source for farmers, in addition to a scientific experiment, then that whole difference in American public opinion--at least with one large community--[unintelligible] (occurs with practical weight) [or] (occurs in a practical way) . I cite this because you've worked with public opinion for years. These situations are not easy sells, but to the extent that there are practical measures--with even portions of our population--there may be the kind of support... [needed]. Which leads to my sort of overall question:
Kyoto did not do well on the Senate floor, when it came. If we have a treaty this year--and I hope we will--this one needs to do better. How will we come about in a bipartisan stance--comprehensive, with the support of the country--to get either 60 or 67 votes, or whatever is required at that point?

Can you give any thought to that, just as a practical politician; as well as one who made a presentation today which is exemplary.

Al Gore:
Well thank you Senator Lugar. I am a recovering politician. I'm on about step nine.
I'd like to--first of all--address your comments, if I may, on soil carbon; because I think it's an important question that should be addressed.
As a rule of thumb, the amount of carbon now sequestered in trees and forests around the world is roughly equal to twice the amount that is in the atmosphere. The amount of carbon sequestered in soils around the world is up to four times as much as the amount in trees.
I grew up--during the summers--on a farm in Tennessee, and learned from my Dad how to recognize the dark black, rich soil in the bottomland.... Not until recently did somebody clue me in that what makes that rich soil black is the carbon.
There's eight times as much carbon in the soils as in the atmosphere, though the flux in and out is much lower than from trees. However, that flux out can increase dramatically from the thawing of the frozen soils, and the flux in the other direction--more rapid sequestration of carbon in the soils--can also be increased; not necessarily with no-till--although I see that as an improvement--but with new techniques that help farmers increase yields and rapidly sequester carbon in soil. They do not yet have the mechanisms to adequately monitor and measure soil carbon sequestration, though they are close to developing them.
The two areas of the world that have most wanted soil carbon included in the treaty are US farmers and the continent of Africa--quite a coalition. If the monitoring can be established, then I think it's a very useful measure to begin that addition to the process in Copenhagen--so that it can be included.

Now, on the prospect for the Treaty--as compared to Kyoto--the general expectation and acceptance in the developing world that they will have binding commitments in the first phase, makes this a very different kind of outlook than was the case with Kyoto.

The very fact that developing countries like Brazil and Indonesia--China, which is in its own category--have now begun to take initiatives; I think that makes it a very different situation. And of course the strength of the scientific consensus worldwide is now far beyond what it was ten years ago--the scientists are practically screaming from the rooftops. This is--properly understood-- a planetary emergency. It is out of the boundaries of scale that we are used to dealing with. And one of my personal challenges for the last thirty years has been to understand how to talk about it in a way that breaks through that denial and resistance. Though some progress has been made, more work needs to be done. I think that President Obama's leadership, which has already been manifested in his statement just two days ago, can itself be an important new element in firming support for what needs to be done.

Senator Dodd (as acting chairman):
Thank you very much.

Senator Dodd continues:
First of all let me join, Mr. Vice President, and thank you for your thirty years of effort in this regard. You were a lonely voice, as I recall, in the House of Representatives, some thirty years ago talking about this. Occasionally history provides leadership like that--not often enough in my view. But I thank you for that.

Al Gore:
Thank you.


I especially noted that a Republican was saying:
Quote:
But I'm impressed with the fact that the Chicago Climate Exchange--maybe as a prelude to some type of cap-and-trade, or carbon pricing system, in our country--has at least established a price for carbon.
I've become--our farm has become a member of this (or an?) exchange; we are a potential seller of carbon. It is sequestered in our hardwood trees, which has been measured as we planted them.
....
This is a very small beginning , but it's an important one....


But especially Al's comment about "new techniques" caught my attention!
Quote:
...and the flux in the other direction--more rapid sequestration of carbon in the soils--can also be increased; not necessarily with no-till--although I see that as an improvement--but with new techniques that help farmers increase yields and rapidly sequester carbon in soil.

He must be talking about bio-char--don't you think?

~ wink
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

Top
#32638 - 11/15/09 12:27 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: samwik]
samwik Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1132
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: samwik
Thanks Erich,
Now that a greener agenda might move forward in the US, maybe we'll see some progress on this front that immediatly addresses CO2 currently in the atmosphere, in addition to the high-tech solutions that focus on future emissions.
I caught Al Gore on CSPAN a few weeks ago. Here is a bit of what he said:
....
especially Al's comment about "new techniques" caught my attention!
...and the flux in the other direction--more rapid sequestration of carbon in the soils--can also be increased; not necessarily with no-till--although I see that as an improvement--but with new techniques that help farmers increase yields and rapidly sequester carbon in soil.
He must be talking about bio-char--don't you think?


The U.S. BIOCHAR website just started up this month. The new website is partly a result of networking and efforts stemming from that First North American Biochar Conference at CU in Colorado, back in August [and of course a few dedicated, hard-working people who deserve our thanks].

North American Biochar Conference 2009
http://cees.colorado.edu/northamericanbiochar.html

US Biochar Initiative Homepage
http://www.biochar-us.org/

Thanks!
~ smile
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#32933 - 12/15/09 04:29 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: Anonymous]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
Hi SCI a GoGo,
I hope you will like these updates on Biochar Soil developments

The Biochar Fund deserves your attention and support.
Exceptional results from biochar experiment in Cameroon
The broad smiles of 1500 subsistence farmers say it all ( that , and the size of the Biochar corn root balls )
http://biocharfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=55&Itemid=75

Mark my words;
Given the potential for Laurens Rademaker's programs to grow exponentially, only a short time lies between This man's nomination for a Noble Prize.
He recently received the Manchester prize.

Cheers,
Erich


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.

Biochar, the modern version of an ancient Amazonian agricultural practice called Terra Preta (black earth, TP), is gaining widespread credibility as a way to address world hunger, climate change, rural poverty, deforestation, and energy shortages… SIMULTANEOUSLY!
Modern Pyrolysis of biomass is a process for Carbon Negative Bio fuels, massive Carbon sequestration, 80%-90% Lower Methane & N2O soil emissions, and 2X Fertility Too.
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.

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.


Legislation:
Senator Baucus is co-sponsoring a bill along with Senator Tester (D-MT) called WE CHAR. Water Efficiency via Carbon Harvesting and Restoration Act! It focuses on promoting biochar technology to address invasive species and forest biomass. It includes grants and loans for biochar market research and development, biochar characterization and environmental analyses. It directs USDI and USDA to provide loan guarantees for biochar technologies and on-the-ground production with an emphasis on biomass from public lands. And the USGS is to do biomas availability assessments.
WashingtonWatch.com - S. 1713, The Water Efficiency via Carbon Harvesting and Restoration (WECHAR) Act of 2009

Individual and groups can show support for WECHAR by signing online at:
http://www.biocharmatters.org/

The Clean Energy Partnerships Act of 2009
The bill is designed to ensure that any US domestic cap-and-trade bill provides maximum incentives and opportunities for the US agricultural and forestry sectors to provide high-quality offsets and GHG emissions reductions for credit or financial incentives. Carbon offsets play a critical role in keeping the costs of a cap-and-trade program low for society as well as for capped sectors and entities, while providing valuable emissions reductions and income generation opportunities for the agricultural sector. The bill specifically identifies biochar production and use as eligible for offset credits, and identifies biochar as a high priority for USDA R&D, with funding authorized by the bill.
To read the full text of the bill, go to:
http://www.biochar-international.org/sites/default/files/END09F94.pdf.

Major Endorsements:

Senator / Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has done the most to nurse this biofuels system in his Biochar provisions in the 07 & 08 farm bill,
http://www.biochar-international.org/newinformationevents/newlegislation.html

NASA's Dr. James Hansen Global warming solutions paper places Biochar / Land management the central technology for carbon negative energy systems.
http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0804/0804.1126.pdf

Dr. James Lovelock (Gaia hypothesis) says Biochar is "The only hope for mankind"

Charles Mann ("1491") in the Sept. National Geographic has a wonderful soils article which places Terra Preta / Biochar soils center stage.
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/09/soil/mann-text

Al Gore got the CO2 absorption thing wrong, ( at NABC Vilsack did same), but his focus on Soil Carbon is right on;
http://www.newsweek.com/id/220552/page/3

Tony Blair & Richard Branson in the UK and conservative party opposition leader John Turnbull in Oz.


Another significant aspect of bichar and aerosols are the low cost ($3) Biomass cook stoves that produce char but no respiratory disease. http://terrapretapot.org/ and village level systems http://biocharfund.org/ with the Congo Basin Forest
Fund (CBFF). The Biochar Fund recently won $300K for these systems citing these priorities;
(1) Hunger amongst the world's poorest people, the subsistence farmers of Sub-Saharan Africa,
(2) Deforestation resulting from a reliance on slash-and-burn farming,
(3) Energy poverty and a lack of access to clean, renewable energy, and
(4) Climate change.
The broad smiles of 1500 subsistence farmers say it all ( that , and the root ball size of the Biochar corn )
http://biocharfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=55&Itemid=75



Building Soil Carbon is the bond that unities all political persuasions,

Soil Carbon Sequestration Standards Committee. Hosted by Monsanto, this group of diverse interests has been hammering out issues of definition, validation and protocol. These past months, this group have been pressing soil sequestration's roll for climate legislation to congress.
http://www.novecta.com/documents/Carbon-Standard.pdf

Along these lines internationally, the work of the IBI fostering the application by 20 countries for UN recognition of soil carbon as a sink with biochar as a clean development mechanism will open the door for programs across the globe.
http://www.biochar-international.org/biocharpolicy.html.



Research:

The Ozzie's for 5 years now in field studies
The future of biochar - Project Rainbow Bee Eater
http://www.sciencealert.com.au/features/20090211-20142.html

The Japanese have been at it dacades:
Japan Biochar Association ;
http://www.geocities.jp/yasizato/pioneer.htm

UK Biochar Research Centre
http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/sccs/biochar/


Virginia Tech is in their 4 th year with the Carbon Char Group's "CharGrow" formulated bagged product. An idea whose time has come | Carbon Char Group
He said the 2008 trials at Virginia Tech showed a 46% increase in yield of tomato transplants grown with just 2 - 5 cups (2 - 5%) "CharGrow" per cubic foot of growing medium. http://www.carbonchar.com/plant-performance

Dr. Rory Maguire,
In first year with Poultry litter char

USDA in their 2 nd year;
There are dozens soil researchers on the subject now at USDA-ARS.
and many studies at The up coming ASA-CSSA-SSSA joint meeting;
http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2009am/webprogram/Session5675.html

Nikolaus has been at it 4 years. "Nikolaus Foidl" <nikolaus33@yahoo.com>,
His current work with aspirin is Amazing in Maize, 250% yield gains, 15 cobs per plant;
http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/con...id-and-charcoal

My 09 field trials with the Rodale Institute & JMU ( bottom of page)
http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/node?page=1

Most recent studies out;
Imperial College test,
This work in temperate soils gives data from which one can calculate savings on fertilizer use, which is expected to be ongoing with no additional soil amending.

http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1755-1315/...01-2be7e2f3ce1b


The BlueLeaf Inc./ Dynamotive study are exciting results given how far north the site is,and the low application rates. I suspect, as we saw with the Imperial College test, the yield benefits seem to decrease the cooler the climate.
The study showed infiltration rates for moisture are almost double. The lower leaf temperatures puzzles me however, I thought around 21C was optimum for photosynthesis.

BlueLeaf Inc. and Dynamotive Announce Biochar Test Results CQuest(TM) Biochar Enriched Plots Yield Crop Increase Ranging From Six to Seventeen Percent vs. Control Plots
http://www.usetdas.com/TDAS/NewsArticle.aspx?NewsID=13603

The full study at Dynomotives site;
http://www.dynamotive.com/wp-content/themes/dynamotive/pdf/BlueLeaf_Biochar_Field_Trial_2008.pdf




Reports:

This PNAS report (by a Nobel lariat) should cause the Royal Society to rethink their report that criticized Biochar systems sequestration potential;
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Reducing abrupt climate change risk using
the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory
actions to complement cuts in CO2 emissions
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/10/09/0902568106.full.pdf+html

United Nations Environment Programme, Climate Change Science Compendium 2009 http://www.unep.org/compendium2009/PDF/Ch5_compendium2009.pdf

Congressional Research Service report (by analyst Kelsi Bracmort) is the best short summary I have seen so far - both technical and policy oriented.
http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/R40186_20090203.pdf .

This is the single most comprehensive report to date, covering more of the Asian and Australian work;
http://www.csiro.au/files/files/poei.pdf

Dr. Scherr's report includes biochar. http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6124

I think we will be seeing much greater media attention for land management & biochar as reports like her's come out linking the roll of agriculture and climate.




Biochar data base;

TP-REPP
http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/?q=node

Disscusion Groups;
The group home page location, General orientation:
Biochar (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/biochar/
Biochar POLICY;
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biochar-policy
Biochar Soils;
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/biochar-soils/
Biochar Production;
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/biochar-production/

Earth Science Terra Preta Forum, Great for students;
Terra Preta - Science Forums



Given the current "Crisis" atmosphere concerning energy, soil sustainability, food vs. Biofuels, and Climate Change what other subject addresses them all?

This is a Nano technology for the soil, a fractal vision of Life's relation to surface area that represents the most comprehensive, low cost, and productive approach to long term stewardship and sustainability.

Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.
Cheers,
Erich


Erich J. Knight
Eco Technologies Group Technical Adviser
Shenandoah Gardens (Owner)
1047 Dave Barry Rd.
McGaheysville, VA. 22840
540 289 9750
Co-Administrator, Biochar Data base & Discussion list TP-REPP






The first North American Biochar Conference, at CU in Boulder ,
Keynote speakers were Secretary Tom Vilsack & Dr. Susan Solomon (NOAA's head atmospheric scientist)
http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?eventid=684390

My attendance is thanks to the folks at EcoTechnologies Group .
http://www.ecotechnologies.com/index.html , they have also fully funded my field trials with the Rodale Institute & JMU)

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#36279 - 09/24/10 01:33 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
samwik Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1132
Loc: Colorado
Terra Preta, or Biochar-enriched soils, are getting a good look!

Here's a free link about the "carbon accounting" of biochar--how much fuel, heat, carbon offset, and sequestration that biochar can provide by using waste biomass. Published 10 August 2010.

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v1/n5/full/ncomms1053.html
Originally Posted By: Nature
Production of biochar (the carbon (C)-rich solid formed by pyrolysis of biomass) and its storage in soils have been suggested as a means of abating climate change by sequestering carbon, while simultaneously providing energy and increasing crop yields. Substantial uncertainties exist, however, regarding the impact, capacity and sustainability of biochar at the global level. In this paper we estimate the maximum sustainable technical potential of biochar to mitigate climate change. Annual net emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide could be reduced....


...and they're not even talking yet about restoring deserts, deforested areas, or fly ash--also turning these into productive land once again.
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#36314 - 09/26/10 06:03 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: samwik]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
The Recent NATURE STUDY;
Sustainable biochar to mitigate global climate change
http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v1/n5/full/ncomms1053.html

Not talked about in this otherwise comprehensive study are the climate and whole ecological implications of new , higher value, applications of chars.

First,
the in situ remediation of a vast variety of toxic agents in soils and sediments.
Biochar Sorption of Contaminants;
http://www.biorenew.iastate.edu/events/b...nvironment.html

Dr. Lima's work; Specialized Characterization Methods for Biochar http://www.biorenew.iastate.edu/events/b...terization.html
And at USDA;
The Ultimate Trash To Treasure: *ARS Research Turns Poultry Waste into Toxin-grabbing Char
http://www.ars.usda.gov/IS/AR/archive/jul05/char0705.htm

Second,
the uses as a feed ration for livestock to reduce GHG emissions and increase disease resistance.

Third,
Recent work by C. Steiner showing a 52% reduction of NH3 loss when char is used as a composting accelerator. This will have profound value added consequences for the commercial composting industry by reduction of their GHG emissions and the sale of compost as a nitrogen fertilizer.

NASA’s Space Archaeology; $364K Terra Preta Program
http://archaeologyexcavations.blogspot.com/2010/08/time-traveling-via-satellite.html

Reports:

For those looking for an overview of biochar and its benefits, These authors have done a very nice job of distilling a great deal of information about biochar and applying it to the US context:
US Focused Biochar report: Assessment of Biochar's Benefits for the USA
http://www.biochar-us.org/pdf%20files/biochar_report_lowres.pdf


Hillary has heard the word;


100 million clean-burning stoves in kitchens around the world.
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/09/147494.htm

Amid diplomatic speed-dating, Clinton pitches 'clean stoves'
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/checkpoint-washington/2010/09/amid_diplomatic_speed-dating_c.html

Four serious efforts at producing biochar by cookstoves are the efforts by Nat Mulcahy's WorldStove; http://worldstove.com/
Paul Anderson's Champion TLUD (and offshoots from that design); http://www.bioenergylists.org/andersontludconstruction
Rob Flanagan's design efforts mainly in China, the Flana Stove; http://bionecho.org/tptut/en/production.php
and Dr. Reddy's GoodStove; http://www.goodstove.com/
All of those gasifier stove projects are driven as much or more by clean emissions and saving forests as they are by biochar production. The ONE major saving grace is that the gasifier stoves do have much cleaner combustion (lowest emissions) than do any of the "stick-wood" stoves and are the lowest in cost.

A significant aspect of low cost, Biomass cook stoves that produce Biochar is removal of BC aerosols and no respiratory disease emissions. At Scale, replacing "Three Stone" stoves the health benefits would equal eradication of Malaria & Aids combined.

The Biochar Fund has doubled subsistence farmer's incomes;
Exceptional results from biochar experiment in Cameroon
The broad smiles of 1500 subsistence farmers say it all ( that , and the size of the Biochar corn root balls )
http://biocharfund.org/

WorldStoves in Haiti; http://www.charcoalproject.org/2010/05/a-man-a-stove-a-mission/

NSF Awards $1.6 million in grants;
BREAD: Biochar Inoculants for Enabling Smallholder Agriculture
http://iapnews.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/cornell-university-wins-biocharstove-research-grants/

Since we have filled the air , filling the seas to full, Soil is the Only Beneficial place left.
Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#36396 - 10/03/10 02:02 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
samwik Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1132
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: erich knight
Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.


Thanks Erich, for those many great links. Nice to see progress in these many different areas of research on biochar.
As you say....

Soil is the best place for all that carbon. This should not be surprising since agriculture and land use have globally depleted about half of the carbon historically stored in soils (~David Laird, USDA). Enriching soils with carbon should not be seen as a "new technique," but rather as a restorative technique and a moral imperative. I've been reading about soils and humus recently and this becomes more and more obvious.

Humus, in many ways, is like liquid biochar; ...or biochar is like solidified humus.
Biochars, like humic substances, "are effective acid-base buffers, they bind metals, molecules, ions and other biopolymers, they are redox-active, and they stick firmly to clays and minerals."

That sounds like biochar, but is quoted from the preface to "Humic Substances: Structures, Properties and Uses" (1998) ISBN: 0-85404-704-2

The book begins with a quote from Fritz Frimmel:
"Humic Substances may not be beautiful, but they do beautiful things."

As with biochars, eh?
===

The preface to the book begins with these profound sentences:
"Humic substances are nature's least understood materials. These brown or black biopolymers exist in animals, plants, sediments, soils and water. Humic substances contain (over 2-3 times) more carbon than all living things. They seem to be purpose built for many life-sustaining functions." ~my emphases & parenthetic~

It almost sounds like an argument for "Intelligent Design," but of course it's just a result of evolutionary adaptation to the soils that developed from increasingly complex decaying organic matter. For over 400 million years, since the first underdeveloped soils of the Silurian and Devonian formed and oxygen levels rose, humus has been a baseline upon which evolution played out.

AND...
The byproducts of fire--black carbon and charred biomass--were also ubiquitous ingredients in soils during that same period of evolution, so it is not surprising that plants and soil microbes have naturally adapted to take advantage of biochars, as they also adapted to humus.

...and soils are so much more complex now that the "recently" evolved grasses and mammals have contributed so much to humus... not to mention the most recent anthropogenic humus (from drugs, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, industrial chemicals, metals, and petrochemicals).
===

...a bit of organic geochemistry shows how humus (& biochar) are like stored energy in the soil.
Decaying biomass is modified by degradation, fractionation, and repolymerization through biochemico-geological processes (microbial & photo/chemico oxidation, time, heat, and pressure) to form first humus and then increasingly, kerogen, lignites and sub-bituminous ores, and finally bituminates and anthracites (coals), and oils and even methane.

In a similar way, pyrolysis modifies and fractionates waste biomass to form syn-gas, bio-oils, and biochar, which are chemically similar to humus and anthracite. After all, almost 50% of the purest anthracitic coals are composed of humic substances. Inertinite, another form of coal, is basically just fossilized biochar. It's all just a spectrum of carbon purity... of oxidation/reduction, and bonding ratios... or words to some effect like that. ...Sort of like humus and biochar are two sides of the same coin, or part of a 3-way chemical equilibrium between black carbon/graphite, humus, and biochar/graphene.

As biochar breaks down over the centuries, it becomes classified finally as "black carbon" and also contributes to the humic fraction of soils. In a similar way, as humus slowly accumulates, changes, and degrades, it also contributes to the important black-carbon fraction of soils, as well as building carbon-rich ores. Like biochar, humus adds porosity and structure to the soil. Humus is chemically similar to the chemically active sites created in biochar during pyrolysis. It is these active sites in biochar that adsorb humus within the soil, or that can become humus as the biochar is broken apart in the soil.

One of biochar's beneficial traits is how it adsorbs, retains, and protects humic substances in the soil, extending the effectiveness and duration of beneficial humic effects on the soil's structure and fertility. Humus can degrade or be oxidized in just a season or a few years, but biochar lasts for generations and centuries, building the carbon richness of soils by enhancing the biochemistry of soils... to support increasing microbial, nutrient-cycling biodiversity and biomass within our planet's soils.
~end lecture:

===

...but also....
The last paper in that book is entitled:

"Greenhouse Gas Dilemma and Humic Acid Solution."

This section describes how coal can be treated to extract the carbon-rich humic substances, while the hydrogen and oxygen-rich fuel from the coal is burned for energy... with minimized CO2 emissions. The humic substances are then used agriculturally to enrich soils, which keeps much of the carbon from the coal biosequestered.

From the book, Humic Substances, p.238-239:

"Widespread application of humic acid products is therefore needed to mitigate CO2 emissions and at the same time create high value from our vast coal resources...."

"As a water retainer, metal binder and sorbent, humic acid is essential to maintain fertile soils. Humic acids' water retention property gives the Earth a thermal buffer capacity that prevents catastrophic climates. The versatile characteristic properties of humic acids include a high cation exchange capacity, the ability to chelate metals, the ability to adsorb organics, a high water holding capacity, ...and an ease of combustion due to its organic nature. The agricultural applications include a slow release source of the micronutrients for plant and microbial growth, ...and a buffering capacity that results in plant growth stimulation."

"....In turn, large scale applications of humic acids will enable us to sequester carbon within our planet and avert the consequences of a greenhouse effect on our global ecology instead of carbon being emitted as CO2 into the atmosphere.
....The primary benefits demonstrated in these applications are that yields of crops and plants increase by 20-100%, which results in the net value gain...."


Wow!
It sounds as if they are talking about biochar, but it's nice to confirm the concept of a Greenhouse Gas "bio-solution" (and fertility/resource bio-solution) from this different "humus" perspective on soil and the carbon cycle.

Biochar is known to greatly reduce nutrient loss through leaching, so I'm sure the biochar in TP soils helps to retain and stabilize humic substances in those highly leached soils. The retained humus would greatly help biochar promote microbial and nutrient-cycling biodiversity in the soil.

I wonder if anyone has pre-treated biochar with humates.... Probably certain soils would benefit more from a higher humus/biochar ratio, while other soils would be improved with a higher biochar/humus ratio. Between the two, there is a lot of potential for soil-based biosequestration... and the associated industries and jobs!

smile
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#36876 - 12/21/10 07:00 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: samwik]
bob_dewan
Unregistered


Welcome friends

I hope this it will help you
I found the best book about biochar with a special holiday price http://biochar-books.com/TBRsale
http://biochar-books.com/
It is a truly biochar Bible.
I believe this is the most beautiful holiday gift for your loved ones.
A real deal at a great price

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#37098 - 01/16/11 09:32 AM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
mazda
Unregistered


Thanks for the info.........................

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#37719 - 03/06/11 10:49 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: ]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
On Humic substances
We need more hard numbers on soil MYC/microbial counts, but by proxy of the 80-90% N2O emission reductions and nutrient efficiency and now Christoph's NH3 char compost, show the dynamic affects in a wide band of soil metabolic rates.
The full CO2 equivalence, accounting for the deeper recalcitrant fraction of SOC, (particularly glomalins), soil GHG emmisions, N & P Nutrient Credits will account biochar's ultimate value.

Real work to do;
Counting the wee-Beasties costs a pretty penny. The most pennies spent so far as I've seen, in his second year now, is Barry at BlueLeaf; www.blue-leaf.ca
His analysis includes soil chemical analysis, plant analysis (including above and below-ground biomass, grain, growth stage, near-infrared and nutrient value), soil foodweb, soil CO2 emissions, nutrient leaching and runoff, etc. This was the first of a three season trial done in conjunction with McGill University and Julie Major.

Epigenetic Effects and Chemical Signaling;

Nikolaus Foidl has been at it 5 years,
His work with aspirin is Amazing in Maize, 250% yield gains, 15 cobs per plant;
http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/con...id-and-charcoal

Nikolaus loved this recent nematode research, he has a list of about 300 substances with suspected epigentic changes in gene expressions derived from chars at different temperatures and from different raw materials, and is trying to convince Universities to do a substance
epigentic gene expression screening to get a better idea of the interaction between char derived substances and soil-microbiota-plant- and in the end humans. Little by little the literature is showing the first results.

Here's some very interesting German research on Humic substances & modulation of anticancer genes.

Some new terminology to me; "anthropogenic xenobiotics", “cep-1 the guardian of the genome”,

SELECTED NATURAL HUMIC MATERIALS INDUCE AND CHAR SUBSTRATES REPRESS A GENE IN CAENORHABDITIS ELEGANS HOMOLOG TO HUMAN ANTICANCER P53
http://iris.lib.neu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1060&context=aes

Your aphids have per­son­al­ity problems?....... epige­net­ic fac­tors may play a part. Maybe char, as in the work on Humic substances & modulation of anticancer genes in Nematodes, could be an interesting variable to play with aphids ?

Tiny bugs have own personalities despite being clones, scientists say

http://www.world-science.net/exclusives/110303_aphid


[size:17pt][/size]
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#37720 - 03/06/11 11:02 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
Best Biochar Books;

1) Best, most engaging book, a total page turner! and I'm not just saying this because of my help in content and editing, ($10 on ebay);

"The Biochar Solution" : http://www.newsociety.com/bookid/4078

2) Encyclopedic companion book, hands-on testimonials from across the industry and I'm not just saying this because of my help in content and editing;

"The Biochar Revolution" ; http://biochar-books.com/TBRDetails

3) two years old, not nearly as expansive, "The Biochar Debate" and I'm not just saying this because I didn't help in content or editing.


IBI Biochar Standards efforts;
Developing a Characterization Standard for Biochar
http://www.biochar-international.org/characterizationstandard


I will be running a demonstration project this year for www.BiocharMerchants.com .
One half of my annual plantings of ornamental flowers will be planted with biochar/compost, the balance compost only. The expected resulting photos of my more symmetrical gardens should make for good advertising.

Please come see my latest rhetoric and BioChar Propaganda at;
The Black Knight of Biochar Blog;
http://soilbiochar.com/blog/


Erich
_________________________
Erich J. Knight

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#37988 - 03/30/11 12:40 PM Re: Terra Preta Soils to Save the Biosphere [Re: erich knight]
katesisco Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/29/11
Posts: 8
reading about terra preta but my most recent info is that this particular for of agriculture took about 300 years for the depth of the deposits to develop. And the definitive answer over how it was formed was by burning the dry plant material and smothering it with green growth, creating the smoldering fire required for charcoal. I remember reading that the blue ridge of the Shenandoah valley was 'blue' due to the charcoalers working their kilns back in the 1700 & 1800s. There are still several old kilns available for tourists in parks. So, yes the preta was man-made, and over a long time.
Consider: this technology depends on local and man power.
Regardless of the current hype for using wood chips, turkey feathers, etc, it all comes down to local. That is why in spite of the much ballyhooed companies that are going to do this recycling they never come to pass. Collecting wood chips in trucks would more than overcome any savings in recycling, hence the extremely local requirements.

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