Terra Preta

Tue, 2008-04-29 16:35Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Terra Preta, Biochar, Black Gold: a Climate Change Solution

It's no silver bullet, but Terra Preta de Indio, a centuries-old agricultural-waste management and fertilization practice, may provide part of the solution to global warming - and to the gathering world food shortage.

Terra Preta is a literal description of the “dark earth” that European explorers first discovered in the Amazon basin, earth that researchers now believe was enriched with charred agricultural waste. Preparing and mixing this biochar into the earth is a great way to sequester carbon AND to fertilize crops.

There are a host of challenges - a large number of hurdles to clear before biochar can be guaranteed as a useful solution to climate change - but when asked if it's a possible goal, Cornell University Assoc. Professor Johannes Lehmann, one of the world's leading experts on biochar, said: “Absolutely!”

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