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Re: Professional Green Roof Design Guide (and Biochar)

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  • Barbara Roemer
    Chris, I was pleased to see your advocacy for biochar. I ve been a member of the International Biochar Initiative for a number of years, and last year when
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 24 12:43 AM
      Chris, I was pleased to see your advocacy for biochar. I've been a member
      of the International Biochar Initiative for a number of years, and last
      year when that group's international conference was only a few hours from
      where I live, I went. Our farm has had a good deal of biochar applied,
      both as a mulch and tilled in, and it is both far more productive than it
      was in the past and far more productive than other nearby farms with
      similar soils and approaches to growing, tilling, mulching, watering. We
      are building a biochar retort as a demonstration project which i hope will
      evolve to treat our county's greenwaste to produce biochar and recoverable
      gasses. But, I've met some cautionary tales along the way, and suggest for
      a balanced look, the following article:

      http://biocharfarms.org/farming/

      While it's true that there are many benefits from the use of biochar, there
      are some potential drawbacks which haven't yet been sufficiently explored -
      read to the section on Biochar Application, for instance:

      *Most biochars are likely to be highly susceptible to erosional processes
      as it is both light (it has a bulk density of 0.17-0.37 tons per cubic
      meter) and is often hydrophobic when freshly produced. Thus, biochar is
      extremely prone to runoff from heavy storms with its high buoyancy and it�s
      also extremely prone to wind erosion due to its light nature and to the
      fact that biochar tends to have a high dust fraction that can be easily
      made airborne during transport, incorporation, and post-application.*


      Nonetheless, the author is still a biochar enthusiast. I think I"ll get a
      little onto our sedum-covered roof on the straw bale generator shed. That
      living roof thrives with no summer water in the arid west, and has had no
      soil renewal since its installation about 6 years ago.

      Barbara Roemer
      Northern Sierra Foothills
      --

      We are silence,
      We are golden,
      We are billion-year-old carbon,
      And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

      -Joni Mitchell


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