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Julie Major Ph.D. candidate, Cornell University Extension Director, International Biochar Initiative Biochar 101 and IBI activities.

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Presentation on theme: "Julie Major Ph.D. candidate, Cornell University Extension Director, International Biochar Initiative Biochar 101 and IBI activities."— Presentation transcript:

1 Julie Major Ph.D. candidate, Cornell University Extension Director, International Biochar Initiative Biochar 101 and IBI activities

2 Fertile Soils in an Unfertile Soilscape the central Amazon © J. Major, 2003 “Terra Preta”‘normal’ soil

3 “Terra Preta”: Amazonian Dark Earths © B. Glaser © J. Major

4 The Properties of Terra Preta Liang, Lehmann et al., 2006, Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 70: Terra Preta ‘normal soil’

5 The Discovery of Biochar Terra Preta ‘normal soil’ Glaser et al., 2001, Naturwissenschaften 88, © Glaser Terra Preta ‘normal’ soil Depth [cm] Ages between 500 and 7,000 years! Biochar (g/kg C)

6 The Properties of Terra Preta Ca Plant-available Ca: (Mehlich-3) Lehmann et al., 2003, Plant and Soil 249: (N=5) ‘normal soil’

7 The Value of Terra Preta © Woods Farming Ornamentals © Woods © Lehmann

8 What is Biochar? Biochar is the product of the thermal degradation of organic matter in the absence of oxygen HardwoodRice hullsSwitchgrassBagasse © J. Major 2008

9 What is Biochar?

10 How much Biochar is in Soil naturally? Soil orders include Alfisols, Vertisols, Inceptisols, Entisols, Ultisols, and Mollisols; data taken from Skjemstad et al. (1996, 1999a, 2001, 2002), Schmidt et al. (1999), Carter et al. (2002). (N=57) About 20% of Carbon

11 How can Biochar be obtained? Wikipedia

12 Biochar application

13 Core Benefits of Biochar High Stability of Organic Matter High Retention of Nutrients Very likely soil water improvements Possible to likely microbial benefits

14 Sustainable Agriculture Lehmann and Rondon, 2006, Bio-char Soil Management on Highly Weathered Soils in the Humid Tropics. Francis and Taylor, FL, pp Results from 24 experiments and 10 different crops Without Biochar using best management Up to 230% yield increase! 0 t/ha8 t/ha20 t/ha

15 The Benefits of Biochar Direct nutrient ADDITION Biochar (g kg -1 ) Available K (cmol c kg -1 ) Available Ca (cmol c kg -1 ) Available Mg (cmol c kg -1 ) Total N (g kg -1 ) Available P (mg kg -1 ) Data for an Oxisol, Lehmann et al. (2002) World Congress of Soil Science

16 The Benefits of Biochar Nutrient RETENTION  CEC ↑ up to 50%  pH ↑ up to 1.2 units H+H+ NO 3 - NH 4 + Loss to groundwater? (reviewed by Glaser Lehmann Zech, 2002, Biol. Fert. Soils) 1 mm Less charge More charge __

17 The Benefits of Biochar a b a b b a a b b aa b a b

18 M. Rondon, unpubl. Reduction in nitrous oxide emission from soil Pasture grassMaize + Biochar + Biochar

19 Biochar lasts longer in soil Lehmann et al., 2006, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change Biochar Un-charred organic matter 45 Years Carbon remaining (%)

20 Carbon sequestration in soil Lehmann et al., 2006, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change Biochar carbon

21 The Vision Biochar with Bio-energy = carbon negative + environmentally friendly! Lehmann, 2007, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7, Lehmann, 2007, Nature 447,

22 International Biochar Initiative (IBI) Registered NGO “Supporting researchers, commercial entities, policy makers, development agents, farmers and gardeners and others committed to supporting sustainable biochar production and utilization systems that Remove carbon from the atmosphere and enhance the earth’s soils

23 IBI conferences Terrigal, NSW, Australia  April 2007  107 attendees from 13 countries Newcastle, UK  September 2008  225 attendees from 31 countries

24 Upcoming events IBI conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil: 2010 IBI conference in Kyoto, Japan: 2011 Regional meetings:  May 2009: Regional Conference of Asia-Pacific Region in Australia  August 2009: Regional Conference of Americas Region in Boulder, CO USA  Date TBD: Regional Conference of European region in Rome, Italy

25 IBI 6-country project Chile (Atacama desert) Costa Rica (Osa peninsula) Belize (Cacao growers/small farmers) India Viet Nam Kenya (cook stoves at household level)

26 Policy activities Farm Bill in USA Poznan, Poland Projects in  WV  Ohio

27 Multiple environmental benefits Saving of a portion of fertilizers Sustainable land use Reduction of off- site pollution Bio-char Climate change mitigation Bio-char

28 Thank you! Honduras, Jan. ‘08

29 How much would YOU be willing to pay for Biochar?


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