Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Environment - Plowing Carbon Under

A recent report from Poland indicated that one way to "lock up" carbon for a few thousand years is to plow under charred vegetation.

This sort of procedure has been practiced among many peoples around the world for thousands of years, however, not with the intent of storing carbon.

"Soils containing biochar made by Amazon people thousands of years ago still contain up to 70 times more black carbon than surrounding soils and are still higher in nutrients, said Debbie Reed, director of the International Biochar Initiative (IBI)." Source: Reuters.

Originally simply a part of primitive farming techniques, researchers say that a "by-product" of the process is the storage of carbon.

Unfortunately, no one is sure how long the carbon would be stored nor exactly how much would be stored. Also at question is whether or not the process is economically feasible.

Another problem foreseen by some is the possibility of deforestation as a result of those applying the process in hopes of reducing carbon. There also does not seem to be much reason for communities or organizations to get behind the process.

Still, it is a process which does work to some extent and about which further research may provide more data.

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