[permaculture] 3 . Flip-flop Flannery is a climate changeopportunist

Ryan Hottle ry.hottle at gmail.com
Fri Feb 6 09:29:16 EST 2009


Lawrence,
I think you are certainly right about the necessity of regenerative
agriculture and producing biochar need not be mutually exclusive with
regenerative practices.  In fact, I think using manure, cover crops, dynamic
accumulators, microbial innnoculants, rock dusts, composts teas, humanure
and biochar in a synergistic fashion could lead to drastic soil
improvement.

Producing biochar need not require us to harvest every last bit of organic
matter to be turned into charcoal.

It has been demonstrated however that biochar can last on the order of
1,000+ years (as demonstrated by the Terra Preta soils of the Amazonians)
whereas the organic matter left as mulch or even, as you suggested, plowed
(though I tend to try to stay away from tillage as much as possible myself)
~90% will generally mineralize out and become CO2 within 5 to 10 years.

In short, biochar, like Harry said, is an incredibly stable amendment that
brings to the soil a host of beneficial properties including improved soil
tilth, aeration, increased micohhrizal fungi interactions, increased CEC,
and water retention.  It may not work for every soil, but it is very
promising.

Again, instead of attack Flannery, Lovelock, or me, if we want to have a
conversation about biochar we should stick to the subject.

Peace and thanks,
Ryan








On Fri, Feb 6, 2009 at 2:46 AM, harry byrne wykman <harrybw at iinet.net.au>wrote:

>
> Forgive me if this represents a similar ignorance to that which you
> ridicule. I understanding that the primary importance of biochar as
> opposed to organic matter is that biochar is STABLE.  That is, it does
> not release carbon into the atmosphere.  For this reason it is
> effective as a carbon lockup strategy.
>
> Harry
>
> On Fri, 06 Feb 2009 01:12:12 -0500
> "Lawrence F. London, Jr." <lflj at intrex.net> wrote:
>
> > =
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/private/permaculture/2009-February/032700.html
> > =[permaculture] 3 . Flip-flop Flannery is a climate changeopportunist
> > =Ryan Hottle ry.hottle at gmail.com
> > =Thu Feb 5 23:40:59 EST 2009
> > =
> > =I'm a supporter and practitioner of Permaculture and think biochar
> > is among =the most promising solutions to global climate change.  I'd
> > like to note =that Clive Hamilton made no mention of any substance or
> > scientific relevance =about the benefits and risks of using biochar
> > as a solution to climate =change.
> > =
> > =Biochar is not exclusive in terms of being able to "cure" climate
> > =change--silver bullet solutions don't exist at this point--but it
> > does seem =to offer a promising and multi-faceted approach to
> > producing energy, =improving soils, and sequestering carbon in a
> > single process. "Never do just =one thing" right?
> > =
> > =It can be highly decentralized from small scale pyrolysis cookstoves
> > to =community scale combined heat and power carbon negative power
> > plants.  It =can be combined with coppicing/pollarding and forest
> > garden systems. =
> > =The soil improving qualities are dramatic particularly in areas with
> > =extremely low soil organic carbon (SOM) such as places at risk of
> > =desertification, sub-Saharan Africa, and denuded landscapes in
> > Tropical =landscapes which tend to have highly leached and low
> > nutrient soils.
> >
> > Are you a farmer? Have you ever farmed? Or gardened? Do you know
> > _anything_ about biological, biointensive, regenerative, natural
> > agriculture? Using massive amounts of rock dusts, manures, cover
> > crops and mulch in agriculture?
> >
> > Why does harvesting all or part of a crop just to turn it into
> > charcoal only to bury it in the ground make any sense at all?
> >
> > Gaia Lovelock says that farmers are the logical group to participate
> > in carbon sequestration by harvesting crop stubble, converting it to
> > charcoal and returning it to the filds INSTEAD OF SIMPLY PLOWING THE
> > STUBBLE UNDER TO INCREASE SOIL OM, thereby increasing tilth,
> > friability, life in the soil and fertility.
> >
> > He doesn't know beans about agriculture and though I buy into his
> > Gaia theory completely he seems to have sold out on the biochar thing
> > without even looking at the long term benefits of traditional
> > regenerative farming, and local food production.
> >
> > LL
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-- 
Ryan Darrell Hottle,
Climate and Society M.A. Student
Columbia University

Global Climate Solutions
www.GlobalClimateSolutions.org

(740) 258 8450



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