[permaculture] biofuels and soil carbon
raincascadia at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 22 14:25:35 EDT 2009
There seems to be a misconception that the soil doesn't lose anything when crops are turned into biofuels. It is important to distinguish between nutrients and humus (pronounced "huemus," like "humun", or conventionally and androcentrically "human"). The nutrients, minus some nitrogen, can be returned to the soil, but most of the organic matter is turned into fuel, leaving very little humus. Humus is gold, and is what allows a soil to hold onto water and nutrients. I would like to have numbers on how much humus is lost compared to composting, but I would guess that there is a very significant loss. Crop wastes need to be returned to the growing site and cannot be sustainably used for fuel, in most cases.
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