DIY Biochar production
Deforestation, population growth, the combustion of fossil fuels, large scale farming, industrialization, and other human activities (referred to in contemporary science as “Global Change”) have rapidly increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide leading to climate change and acidification of coral reefs. Global governments and environmental organizations have been unable to adopt carbon reduction plans consistent with a stable Earth System. Planetary temperatures, global levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have fluctuated greatly before in geological history, though typically over much longer periods of time than present changes.
A profoundly new perception of Earth Sciences has emerged since James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis proposed the “Gaia” theory, claiming that the Earth was a self-regulating system with the tendency to maintain a certain range of temperatures, gas concentrations and living conditions which support a wide variety of biological diversity. Within this range of conditions human civilizations took root and thrived. Scientists now predict that climate changes during this century may threaten civilization itself. During the European Geophysical meeting of 2001, the Declaration of Amsterdam was signed by more than a thousand scientists, confirming, “The Earth System behaves as a single, self-regulating system with physical, chemical, biological, and human components.” It is from this perspective that viable systems-level solutions will be derived. Biochar has significant potential to become a key resilient technique appropriate for 21st Century global change conditions.
Biochar is charcoal created by combustion of plant matter in low oxygen conditions at between 300 – 700 degrees C. Addition of biochar to tropical soils benefits the availability of many important nutrients and has been proven to increase plant growth.