Biochar Soils.....Husbandry of whole new orders & Kingdoms of life

To me, in the long run,  the final arbiter / accountancy / measure of sustainability will be soil carbon content. Once this royal road is constructed, traffic cops ( Carbon Board ) in place, the truth of
land-management and Biochar systems will be self-evident.

The Ag Carbon standard is in the second phase of review by the AMS-ARC branch at USDA.
After initial review they had objections on the oversight provisions and a few others that have been addressed. The nextstep in this process will be nominations for elections to seat a Soil C Board, a  supreme court, if you will, under USDA / EPA oversight, to validate / certify practice & protocols for systems that build soil C.

A dream I've had for years is to base the coming carbon economy firmly on the foundation of top soils. My read of the agronomic history of civilization shows that the Kayopo Amazon
Indians and the Egyptians were the only ones to maintain fertility for the long haul, millennium scales. Egypt has now forsaken their geologic advantage by building the Aswan dam, and are stuck, with the rest of us, in the soil C mining, NPK rat race to the bottom.

The Ag Soil Carbon standard is in the second phase of review by the ARC branch at USDA. After initial review, approval is  expected this month.  Contact Gary Delong .
Read over the work so far;

In my efforts to have Biochar included I have recruited several to join the list, briefed the entire
committee about char when issues concerning N2O & CH4 soil GHG emissions were raised, fully briefed a couple members when they replied individually to my "Reply all" briefs.

Hope to see you at ISU for the 2010 US Biochar Conference

Dr. Robert Brown a href="" target="_blank">>, and  the team in Ames Iowa are  planing  the next national biochar conference. The Conference will be June 27-30 in Ames Iowa, Hosted by Iowa State University.

The Biochar Fund  deserves your attention and support.
Exceptional results from biochar experiment in Cameroon

Thanks for your efforts.

Erich J. Knight
Chairman; Markets and Business Opportunities Review Committee
US BiocharConference,  at Iowa State University, June 27-30

EcoTechnologies 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

Soil Carbon Dream

I have a dream that one day we live in a nation where progress will
not be judged by the production yields of our fields, but by the color
of their soils and by the Carbon content of their character.

 I have a dream today.

 I have a dream that one day, a suite of earth sensing satellites will level the playing field, giving every farmer a full account of carbon he sequesters. That Soil Carbon is given as the final arbiter,
the common currency, accountant and Judge of Stewardship on our lands.

 I have a dream today.

 I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made forest, the rough soils will be made fertile, and the crooked Carbon Marketeers will be made straight, and
the glory of Soil Sequestration shall be revealed, and all flesh shall
see a Mutually assured Sustainability.

 This is our hope.

 My apologies to Dr. King, but I think he would understand my passion

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 inthe biochar.

Every 1 ton of Biomass yields 1/3 ton Charcoal for soil Sequestration (= to 1 Ton CO2e) + Bio-Gas &
Bio-oil fuels = to 1MWh exported electricity, so is a totally virtuous, carbon negative energy cycle.

Biochar viewed as soil Infrastructure; The old saw;
"Feed the Soil Not the Plants" becomes;
"Feed, Cloth and House the Soil, utilities included !".
Free Carbon Condominiums with carboxyl group fats in the pantry and
hydroxyl alcohol in the mini bar.
Build it and the Wee-Beasties will come.
Microbes like to sit down when they eat.
By setting this table we expand husbandry to whole new orders &
Kingdoms of life.

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.

Senator Baucus is co-sponsoring  a bill along with Senator Tester (D-MT)
called WE C
HAR.  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 bioma
s availability assessments. - 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:

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:

Biochar systems for Biofuels and soil carbon sequestration are so basically conservative in nature it is a shame that republicans have not seized it as a central environmental policy plank as the conservatives in Australia have; Carbon sequestration without Taxes.Major


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,

NASA's Dr. James Hansen Global warming solutions paper places Biochar / Land management the central technology for carbon negative energy systems.

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.

Al Gore got the CO2 absorption thing wrong, ( at NABC Vilsack did same),
but his focus on Soil Carbon is right on;

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


This is the finest explanation I have read on the process of biochar testing. Hugh lays it out like medical triage to extract the data most needed for soil carbon sequestration. A triage for all levels of
competence, the Para-Medic Gardener to the Surgeon Chem-Engineer.

The Ozzie's for 5 years now in field studies
The future of biochar - Project Rainbow Bee Eater

The Japanese have been at it dacades:
Japan Biochar Association ;

UK Biochar Research Centre

  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
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.

USDA in their 2 nd year;  "Novak, Jeff" a href="" target="_blank">>,
&  "david lairda href="" target="_blank">>,
There are dozens soil researchers on the subject now at USDA-ARS.
and many studies at The  ASA-CSSA-SSSA joint meeting;

Nikolaus has been at it 4 years. Nikolaus Foidl,
His current work with aspirin is Amazing in Maize, 250% yield gains, 15 cobs per plant;

My 09 field trials with the Rodale Institute & JMU ;
Alterna Biocarbon and Cowboy Charcoal Virginia field trials '09

  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.

Biochar at 45 Degrees.......Latitude that Is :)
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 last year.
For 2009 even better


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

United Nations Environment Programme, Climate Change Science Compendium 2009

Congressional Research Service report (by analyst Kelsi Bracmort)
is the best short summary I have seen so far - both technical and
policy oriented. .
Recent Up Date;

This is the single most comprehensive report to date, covering more of
the Asian and Australian work;

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

Biochar data base;

Disscusion Groups;

The group home page location, General orientation:

Biochar POLICY;

Biochar Soils

Biochar Production;

Earth Science Terra Preta Forum, Great for students;

TerraPreta - 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.


The first North American Biochar Conference,  at CU  in Boulder ,
Keynote speakers were  Secretary Tom Vilsack
& Dr. Susan Solomon (NOAA's head atmospheric scientist)

There is real magic coming out of the Asian Biochar conference.
15 ear per stalk corn with 250% yield increase,
Sacred Trees and chickens raised from near death
Multiple confirmations of 80% - 90% reduction of soil GHG emissions
The abstracts of the conference are at

Biochar Studies at the 08 ACS Huston meeting;
Most all this work corroborates char soil 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

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.
665 - III.

Company News & EU Certification

Below is an important hurtle that 3R AGROCARBON has overcome in certification in the EU. Given that their standards are set much higher than even organic certification in the US, this work should smooth any bureaucratic hurtles we may face.
EU Permit Authority - 4 years tests
Subject: Fwd: [biochar] Re: GOOD NEWS: EU Permit Authority - 4 years
tests successfully complete
Doses: 400 kg / ha – 1000 kg / ha at different horticultural cultivars
Plant height Increase 141 % versus control

Picking yield Increase 630 % versus control

Picking fruit Increase 650 % versus control

Total yield Increase 202 % versus control

Total piece of fruit Increase 171 % versus control
Fruit weight Increase 118 % versus control

Low Tech Clean Home Made Biochar;

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