Women's Earth & Climate Action Network, International
The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network is a solutions-based, multi-faceted effort established to engage women worldwide to take action as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions. For Our Earth and Future Generations A project of Women's Earth and Climate Caucus and its partner eraGlobal Alliance
« Forests, Seeds, Food, Agriculture

Biochar

photo of Gloria Flora

Started by: GFlora



Description:

Biochar
My organization, Sustainable Obtainable Solutions, has started the U.S. Biochar Initiative (www.biochar-us.org) - this is an off-spring of the International Biochar Initiative (www.biochar-international.org).  We are promoting the sustainable production and use of biochar. 

Biochar is charcoal made from waste biomass with the intention of returning the char to the soil to improve fertility.  We've learned this from our ancestors in the Amazon 2500 years ago as they created fertile gardens in jungle soils using biochar.

Biochar has many amazing capabilities: attracting and holding nutrients and water in soil is just one.  Biochar doesn't need to be added every year like fertilizer but maintains higher productivity its entire life.  This reduces the amount of fossil fuel necessary for farming and fertilizing.

In relation to climate change, biochar sequesters carbon for 100's to 1000's of years and reduces greenhouse gas off-gasing out of soil (and cattle!).  Biochar increases plant growth, using more CO2.  And waste that would otherwise decompose and release CO2 can be converted to biochar, giving off heat for heating or electricity production.

Root causes of the problems in this field and main barriers:

We are addressing soil infertility, creating valuable products and energy from waste, increasing the health and vitality of forests, sequestering carbon and reducing the use of fossil fuel. 

The primary barriers are education/awareness about biochar, getting the right technology for the place and ways to harvest and gather biomass, and creating markets. And very importantly ensuring all of this is done sustainably. 

We are very concerned about the potential abuse of lands and native forests if biochar production is undertaken by individuals or industry that are only looking for profit.  Biochar is not sustainable or appropriate if people are driven off their lands, if farmlands are converted to biomass plantations or if native forests are cut for biomass.  Biochar feedstocks must come from waste wood, manure or other materials that have no higher purpose or use.

What is needed to overcome barriers to implement solutions:

Spreading the knowledge of biochar and low-cost ways of producing it.  Ensuring sustainable production.

Specific needs and/or support requests:

Suggested best local solution for this topic:

The best solutions are local solutions. Biochar is best when feedstocks, production and distribution are all local. 

There are many, many biochar projects growing and spreading throughout the world.  I'd be happy to connect

Networking opportunities:

Contact me for how to find out about biochar efforts in your area.

Discussion

You must be logged in to post comments. Login now.

Annastacia Nzau posted

I am interested in you project of making biochar and I would wish we upscale it to Kenya. Please connect to me through this email address; anzau2002@yahoo.com Thanks.