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Re: Woodgas stoves and terra preta

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  • johnmacmot
    The Terra Preta phenomenon is something I ve recently become aware of myself. There is a quite a lot of information online about the background and current
    Message 1 of 25 , Feb 2 12:35 PM
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      The Terra Preta phenomenon is something I've recently become aware of myself. There is
      a quite a lot of information online about the background and current research and
      progress.

      here are some good starting links:
      Horizon documentary that does a useful job of outlining the Terra Preta origins and
      characteristics in the Amazon Basin - http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-
      2809044795781727003&q=amazon+bbc&pr=goog-sl

      The Cornell University site where quite a lot of research work has been focused:
      http://www.css.cornell.edu/faculty/lehmann/terra_preta/TerraPretahome.htm

      The main discussion forum on the subject:
      http://forums.hypography.com/terra-preta.html

      If you dig around these sites you will get a good picture of an interesting and potentially
      quite significant subject.

      John McFadgen
      --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi,
      >
      > Welcome to the group!
      >
      > Can you explain, in layman's terms, how charcoal is used as
      > a soil amendment and what effect this has on soil fertility?
      >
      > I would also be interested to know if field tests have been
      > conducted that demonstrate charcoal's influence on soil fertility.
      > Are there any test reports available on the Internet?
      >
      > Dieter Brand
      > Portugal
      >
      > Saibhaskar Nakka <saibhaskarnakka@...> wrote:
      > Dear All,
      >
      > Greetings!
      >
      > I am Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy, Founder and CEO of Geoecology Energy
      > Organisation (GEO), it is an initiative to mitigate climate change through
      > adaptation. I have developed techniques to reclaim the alkaline soils using
      > charcoal and other amendments, which also helps in carbon sequestration.
      > Have designed about 14 Good Stoves which reduce CO2 emissions, efficient and
      > also some of the stoves produce charcoal as byproduct, which can be used for
      > improving the soil. I am a great fan of Fukuoka, and I like natural
      > farming concept. I am thankful to Raji Titus for introducing me to this
      > great group. All the desings and knowledge created by GEO is declared as
      > Creative Commons for common good.
      > For more details on GEO initiatives please see: http://www.e-geo.org and
      > http://www.goodstove.com
      >
      > With regards,
      >
      > Dr. Sai Bhaskar Reddy N.
      > Mobile No. 09246352018
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ---------------------------------
      > Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • Jeff
      ... First- not all charcoal is equal in its ability to help soil fertility. The charcoal typically sold for grills is high temperature charcoal. (900+ C) Where
      Message 2 of 25 , Feb 2 5:58 PM
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        > Can you explain, in layman's terms, how charcoal is used as
        > a soil amendment and what effect this has on soil fertility?
        >
        First- not all charcoal is equal in its ability to help soil
        fertility. The charcoal typically sold for grills is high temperature
        charcoal. (900+ C) Where as biologically active charcoal is produced
        at lower temps (300-750 C). The best temperature for production is a
        point of debate. Sadly, most of the work being done on replicating
        terra praeta is comercialized so they are not reporting their results
        openly.

        The low temperature has several different benefits: not all the N is
        burned off at low temperatures. Nitrogen is an essentail plant
        element. The second benefit has to do with the pore space. High
        temperature causes the pores to connect and collapse. The smaller
        pores with the low temperature are vital for a) holding nutrients b)
        holding beneficial microbes and c) holding water.

        Charcoal act similar to other organic mater by holding nutrients and
        water. Charcoal has the added benefit that it is already stabilized.
        THat is microbes can't break it down, or do so very very slowly. As
        opposed to regular biomass which is rapidly lost due to decomposition,
        and only a small percentage remains as humus.

        There have been a couple of reports of successful use on the web, but
        none of them scientific. One did report results. First year about the
        same as fertilized,and an increase of 10-30% the second year in
        depending on crop, but the experimental design was somewhat flawed in
        my opinoin (I'm not doubting the results, but rather the ability to
        withstand scientific scrutiny.)

        I would be intereted in knowing of any studies people have come across.





        > I would also be interested to know if field tests have been
        > conducted that demonstrate charcoal's influence on soil fertility.
        > Are there any test reports available on the Internet?
        >

        >
        > I am Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy, Founder and CEO of Geoecology Energy
        > Organisation (GEO), it is an initiative to mitigate climate change
        through
        > adaptation. I have developed techniques to reclaim the alkaline
        soils using charcoal and other amendments, which also helps in carbon
        sequestration. Have designed about 14 Good Stoves which reduce CO2
        emissions, efficient and also some of the stoves produce charcoal as
        byproduct, which can be used for improving the soil. I am a great fan
        of Fukuoka, and I like natural farming concept. I am thankful to Raji
        Titus for introducing me to this great group. All the desings and
        knowledge created by GEO is declared as Creative Commons for common
        good. For more details on GEO initiatives please see:
        http://www.e-geo.org and
        > http://www.goodstove.com
        >
        > With regards,
        >
        > Dr. Sai Bhaskar Reddy N.
        > Mobile No. 09246352018
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ---------------------------------
        > Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile.
        Try it now.
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • Dieter Brand
        Jeff, Thanks for chipping in with some easy to understand comments on the terra preta phenomenon. Thus, as far as you are aware, there is no demonstrated
        Message 3 of 25 , Feb 3 4:12 AM
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          Jeff,

          Thanks for chipping in with some easy to understand comments
          on the terra preta phenomenon.

          Thus, as far as you are aware, there is no demonstrated objective
          evidence, at the present point in time, that terra preta does indeed
          improve soil fertility.

          > ... Charcoal has the added benefit that it is already stabilized.
          > THat is microbes can't break it down, or do so very very slowly.
          > As opposed to regular biomass which is rapidly lost due to
          > decomposition, and only a small percentage remains as humus.

          Recently, I have repeatedly come across the idea that most
          biomass is lost, gassed-off, during decomposition. Somehow,
          this seems to be contrary to the very unscientific ideas I have
          in my head regarding soil processes.

          If most biomass is lost, then my compost heap, which consists
          entirely of plant residues, would have to disappear almost entirely.
          Admittedly, the compost volume does shrink, especially in the
          early stages of composting. But that is not surprising given the
          very loose and watery consistence of the starting heap.

          And even if the compost volume and/or mass, once applied to
          the soil, were to shrink even further, there are still the biological
          soil processes set in motion by compost, ie. biomass, which
          benefit the soil and ultimately are at the _root_ of all soil fertility.

          My _hunch_ is that by converting biomass into charcoal instead
          of applying it directly to the soil, we somehow cut short these
          biological processes and thus deprive the soil of the activity it
          has relied on from the beginning to create fertility and thus life.
          But we humans always know better how nature ought to do it's
          thing.

          Dieter Brand
          Portugal

          PS: Again, in my very unscientific ways, I think that how much
          biomass is lost, gassed-off, probably depends on specific
          conditions such as soil type, climate (wet/dry, hot/cold) and last
          but not least on the type of soil management used: tilling or not
          tilling, bare soil versus cover cropping, etc.


          Jeff <shultonus@...> wrote:

          > Can you explain, in layman's terms, how charcoal is used as
          > a soil amendment and what effect this has on soil fertility?
          >
          First- not all charcoal is equal in its ability to help soil
          fertility. The charcoal typically sold for grills is high temperature
          charcoal. (900+ C) Where as biologically active charcoal is produced
          at lower temps (300-750 C). The best temperature for production is a
          point of debate. Sadly, most of the work being done on replicating
          terra praeta is comercialized so they are not reporting their results
          openly.

          The low temperature has several different benefits: not all the N is
          burned off at low temperatures. Nitrogen is an essentail plant
          element. The second benefit has to do with the pore space. High
          temperature causes the pores to connect and collapse. The smaller
          pores with the low temperature are vital for a) holding nutrients b)
          holding beneficial microbes and c) holding water.

          Charcoal act similar to other organic mater by holding nutrients and
          water. Charcoal has the added benefit that it is already stabilized.
          THat is microbes can't break it down, or do so very very slowly. As
          opposed to regular biomass which is rapidly lost due to decomposition,
          and only a small percentage remains as humus.

          There have been a couple of reports of successful use on the web, but
          none of them scientific. One did report results. First year about the
          same as fertilized,and an increase of 10-30% the second year in
          depending on crop, but the experimental design was somewhat flawed in
          my opinoin (I'm not doubting the results, but rather the ability to
          withstand scientific scrutiny.)

          I would be intereted in knowing of any studies people have come across.




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        • Dieter Brand
          ... John, many thanks for posting the terra preta links. Unfortunately, my Internet connection isn t up to watching videos online. And, most of us find that
          Message 4 of 25 , Feb 3 5:20 AM
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            >There is a quite a lot of information online about the background
            >and current research and progress.

            John, many thanks for posting the terra preta links. Unfortunately,
            my Internet connection isn't up to watching videos online. And,
            most of us find that eyesight decreases in direct proportion to
            the increase in age, which makes us rather more selective about
            what we read and what not. I had thus hoped, however selfishly,
            that the gentleman from India would be inclined to share his
            experience in this matter so as to remove all doubts from our
            mind.

            Dieter Brand
            Portugal

            johnmacmot <johnmacmot@...> wrote:
            The Terra Preta phenomenon is something I've recently become aware of myself. There is
            a quite a lot of information online about the background and current research and
            progress.

            here are some good starting links:
            Horizon documentary that does a useful job of outlining the Terra Preta origins and
            characteristics in the Amazon Basin - http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-
            2809044795781727003&q=amazon+bbc&pr=goog-sl

            The Cornell University site where quite a lot of research work has been focused:
            http://www.css.cornell.edu/faculty/lehmann/terra_preta/TerraPretahome.htm

            The main discussion forum on the subject:
            http://forums.hypography.com/terra-preta.html

            If you dig around these sites you will get a good picture of an interesting and potentially
            quite significant subject.

            John McFadgen



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          • Nakka Sai Bhaskar Reddy
            Dear All, Regarding my own experience in Terra Preta, the complete details are found in these links: Terra Preta - Roof Top experiments
            Message 5 of 25 , Feb 3 7:35 AM
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              Dear All,

              Regarding my own experience in Terra Preta, the complete details are
              found in these links:

              Terra Preta - Roof Top experiments
              http://e-terrapretarooftopexp.blogspot.com/

              Alkaline soils and Terra Preta
              http://e-alkalinesoilsterrapreta.blogspot.com/

              Top group on terra preta
              http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/

              Regarding how to make charcoal see some of the links in
              http://www.e-geo.org/home322

              Carbon is the essential element for all life on earth and it can
              also provide a habitat for the soil microbes and for absorbing
              certain elements. As charcoal has maximum surface area, it is like a
              multi-million story apartments structure for soil microbes to live
              and thrive, as in cities we are constructing multi-story apartments
              for people to live. It has much more value than as explained here.
              We should understand why 'GOD' has choosen carbon instead of silica
              (except few radiolarian cherts) for majority of life forms on earth
              as basic element.

              Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy
              http://www.e-geo.org


              --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Dieter Brand <diebrand@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > >There is a quite a lot of information online about the background
              > >and current research and progress.
              >
              > John, many thanks for posting the terra preta links.
              Unfortunately,
              > my Internet connection isn't up to watching videos online. And,
              > most of us find that eyesight decreases in direct proportion to
              >
            • Greg and Garbo
              Hi Folks, I thought I¹d add my two cents worth on Terra Preta and Carbon. I have been reading that the reason charcoal activates soil fertility so, is that
              Message 6 of 25 , Feb 3 9:39 AM
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                Hi Folks,

                I thought I¹d add my two cents worth on Terra Preta and Carbon.

                I have been reading that the reason charcoal activates soil fertility so, is
                that carbon is an element that readily binds with many other elements to
                form molecules that make up the basis of life. You have probably heard that
                we are Œcarbon based¹ creatures, carbon being the base element in the
                formation of almost all earthly living things.

                Charcoal is almost pure carbon. When it comes out of a wood-gas stove, it is
                called Œactivated carbon¹, meaning that all or most of the other elements
                that were once combined with it, have been driven of by the extreme
                temperatures of the gasification process, leaving behind almost pure carbon
                in a form that is eager to bond with any element it has an affinity for. And
                carbon has an affinity for many other elements, many of them soil nutrients,
                and so it acts as a catalyst to enable movement and uptake of nutrients that
                otherwise may not be available for plants. This process further enables
                symbiotic relationships with living soil biota.

                If your interested in seeing a video of our home-made wood-gas stove, a
                by-product of which is charcoal, please go to:
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBsG32n_8oc

                I hope this is helpful.

                Thanks,
                Greg in Wisconsin



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Dieter Brand
                Greetings! Thanks for posting your links. That will give us something to read. High-rise buildings for microbes , nice image. Carbon is no doubt important for
                Message 7 of 25 , Feb 3 11:41 AM
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                  Greetings!

                  Thanks for posting your links.
                  That will give us something to read.

                  "High-rise buildings for microbes", nice image.
                  Carbon is no doubt important for live on this planet,
                  even though, I suppose that silica, or clay, has it's
                  role to play.

                  Dieter Brand
                  Portugal

                  Nakka Sai Bhaskar Reddy <saibhaskarnakka@...> wrote:
                  Dear All,

                  Regarding my own experience in Terra Preta, the complete details are
                  found in these links:

                  Terra Preta - Roof Top experiments
                  http://e-terrapretarooftopexp.blogspot.com/

                  Alkaline soils and Terra Preta
                  http://e-alkalinesoilsterrapreta.blogspot.com/

                  Top group on terra preta
                  http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/

                  Regarding how to make charcoal see some of the links in
                  http://www.e-geo.org/home322

                  Carbon is the essential element for all life on earth and it can
                  also provide a habitat for the soil microbes and for absorbing
                  certain elements. As charcoal has maximum surface area, it is like a
                  multi-million story apartments structure for soil microbes to live
                  and thrive, as in cities we are constructing multi-story apartments
                  for people to live. It has much more value than as explained here.
                  We should understand why 'GOD' has choosen carbon instead of silica
                  (except few radiolarian cherts) for majority of life forms on earth
                  as basic element.

                  Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy
                  http://www.e-geo.org

                  --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Dieter Brand <diebrand@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > >There is a quite a lot of information online about the background
                  > >and current research and progress.
                  >
                  > John, many thanks for posting the terra preta links.
                  Unfortunately,
                  > my Internet connection isn't up to watching videos online. And,
                  > most of us find that eyesight decreases in direct proportion to
                  >






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                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Jeff
                  ... indeed improve soil fertility. ... Lehmann, does have very good objective and scientific data on the increases in soil fertility, however the corresponding
                  Message 8 of 25 , Feb 3 12:43 PM
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                    >
                    > Thus, as far as you are aware, there is no demonstrated objective
                    > evidence, at the present point in time, that terra preta does
                    indeed improve soil fertility.
                    >
                    Lehmann, does have very good objective and scientific data on the
                    increases in soil fertility, however the corresponding data on actual
                    YEILD differences are spotty.

                    Specifically Lehmann uses high-technology measuring devices to measure
                    the soil fertility. THe only biotic indicator Lehmann measure is leaf
                    production, which isn't what gardeners or farmers care about. In fact
                    many of the recent advances in (natural) plant breeding have come at
                    the expense of leaf area.

                    Lehmann is a soil scientist, and is fascinated by the function of the
                    soil, not necessarily the agricultural yeild.
                    THe nutrients are not only higher in the terra praeta, they are not
                    easily leached by rain (measured by Lehmann), they are more
                    bio-available, especially P (phosophorus) (also measured by Lehmann)

                    > Recently, I have repeatedly come across the idea that most
                    > biomass is lost, gassed-off, during decomposition. Somehow,
                    > this seems to be contrary to the very unscientific ideas I have
                    > in my head regarding soil processes.

                    Biomass is lost and is not easily apparent because its such a long
                    process. It is also difficult to measure because of the time scales
                    involved. It is a logrithmic progression.
                    ie it takes 1-3 years to lose 50% and 10 years to lose half of that
                    (25%) and so on.


                    > And even if the compost volume and/or mass, once applied to
                    > the soil, were to shrink even further, there are still the
                    biological soil processes set in motion by compost, ie. biomass, which
                    > benefit the soil and ultimately are at the _root_ of all soil
                    fertility.
                    >
                    > My _hunch_ is that by converting biomass into charcoal instead
                    > of applying it directly to the soil, we somehow cut short these
                    > biological processes and thus deprive the soil of the activity it
                    > has relied on from the beginning to create fertility and thus life.
                    > But we humans always know better how nature ought to do it's
                    > thing.
                    >
                    THis is the most surprising part of Terra praeta.
                    The bio-char in terra praeta is EXCELLENT habitat for the soil
                    microbes and those processes. The pores in the charcoal provide many
                    many microhabitats for them. WHile the process is different, and
                    involves different species of microbes the soil does indeed seem
                    extremely healthy (Lehmann and his collegues also measure and defined
                    the microbe community of Terra praeta)
                  • Allan Balliett
                    No doubt that the terra preta soils are healthy. I was just reading Glaser s AMAZON SOILS book yesterday. It s repeatedly pointed out in various reports in
                    Message 9 of 25 , Feb 3 12:55 PM
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                      No doubt that the terra preta soils are healthy.

                      I was just reading Glaser's AMAZON SOILS book yesterday.

                      It's repeatedly pointed out in various reports in that book that char
                      or no char, another characteristic of the soils is that human waste
                      and fish waste were heavily incorporated into these soils over, in
                      most cases, hundreds of years of time.

                      It's hard to do the American thing and decide that "it's just the
                      charcoal" that makes these soils so special.

                      Also, as little as a year ago people were saying "terra preta
                      involves putting pottery shards and charcoal into the ground" now we
                      are just hearing "char," and the pottery part seems to be being
                      ignored.

                      Worse, it has become clear that some of the examples we had last year
                      of bio-char causing great growth to the soil in short order actually
                      involved impregnating the char with chemmy nitrogen before burying.

                      There's a lot more to be learned about terra preta before we poor
                      dirt farmers need to spend a lot of time or energy making char and
                      digging it into the soil.

                      -Allan Balliett
                      Shepherdstown, WV
                    • Nakka Sai Bhaskar Reddy
                      Dear All, Please see this poster (link below) to get the relationship between, woodgas stoves, terra preta, mitigating climate change through carbon
                      Message 10 of 25 , Feb 5 1:25 AM
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                        Dear All,

                        Please see this poster (link below) to get the relationship between,
                        woodgas stoves, terra preta, mitigating climate change through carbon
                        sequestration and making biomass available for stoves.

                        http://docs.google.com/View?docid=ddtcnc28_66cjdz64gt

                        Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy
                      • Dieter Brand
                        Jeff, ... Is _loss_ really the term that applies here? Would it not be better to talk about _transformation_? Then there is the question what is it transformed
                        Message 11 of 25 , Feb 5 1:53 AM
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                          Jeff,

                          >Biomass is lost and is not easily apparent because its such a long
                          >process. It is also difficult to measure because of the time scales
                          >involved. It is a logrithmic progression.
                          >ie it takes 1-3 years to lose 50% and 10 years to lose half of that
                          >(25%) and so on.

                          Is _loss_ really the term that applies here? Would it not be better to
                          talk about _transformation_?

                          Then there is the question what is it transformed into? Emitted into
                          the atmosphere? Taken up by neighbouring plants? Transformed into
                          stable clay-humus complexes? Converted into glomalin? Eternally
                          recycled among microbes? Converted into something we don't even
                          know about?

                          Altogether too complex for any science to handle. But we are still
                          dead sure that all of that complexity we don't understand can easily
                          be replaced by charcoal or why not NPK, that should do the trick.

                          Dieter Brand
                          Portugal



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                        • Robert Monie
                          Hi Allan, Thank you for your excellent observations. Fish, of course, bring us back to seaweed (which many fish consume and which contains many trace elements
                          Message 12 of 25 , Feb 7 8:01 AM
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                            Hi Allan,

                            Thank you for your excellent observations. Fish, of course, bring us back to seaweed (which many fish consume and which contains many trace elements besides the supposedly main element of carbon) and bonemeal (composed of calcium and phosphorus), from time immemorial staples of organic farming. Silica is also present in the form of ceramics and clays. Without silica (silicon), plants sag and fall; imagine cane or grass growing with only carbon to hold it up: bamboo fields would look like wet noodles drooping in a plate. Human waste further skewers the formula that carbon = fertility since human waste includes everything from maganese to molebdyum. The 11th commandment is or should be "Thou shalt not reduce complexity to one element." Or, as that famous non-believer H. L. Menken said, "For every complex question there is a simple answer, and it is always wrong." In composing the periodic table (surely one of the greatest achievements of the miserable human race) Mendelev
                            did not beat his chest Tarzan ape-man-like and proclaim "Me carbon, you Jane." He wisely grouped the elements according to their properties, with hydrogen first and space left for all the heavy radioactive ones, natural and man-made (or human-induced, if you prefer). Life at every level is diversity, from the lepton to the atom to the molecule to the cell to the tissue groups to the systems to the plants and animals and other forms, to the local ecologies, to the biosphere, to Gaia. Gaia is GEOLOGY (everything mostly besides carbon), water (hydrogen and oxygen), and living things together; that means all the elements in Mendeleev's table, a vast cosmic rainbow. It takes "rocks and gravel" and water, along with carbon, to make a mighty world (to paraphrase an old American slave work song), and carbon "ain't nothing special."

                            Personally, I tell carbon ("char") to go sit down and take its place in the bleachers along with the other players. It isn't any superstar. It has a role to play along with the other elements, and if its supporters cheer too much, in order to prevent carbon getting too big a head, we need to call "foul" and eject them from the game or better still, sentence them to copy the periodic table at least 100 times, pronouncing the names as they go along (and also reciting the known contribution many of these wonderful elements make to plant and human nutrition). .

                            If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a periodic table of all the elements to bring forth and sustain life on this earth. If we start inventing carbon idols, worshipping them, and devising strange myth/theologies in defense of our idol, we will become the laughing stock of the sustainable farming community.


                            Disbelieving in carbon char as the elixir and mystical bringer of life and all plant fertility,

                            Bob Monie
                            New Orleans, LA
                            Zone 8
                            Ashes to Ashes, the day after Ash Wednesday. Ashes often contain sodium, titanium, potassium, calcium, silicon, aluminium, magnesium, iron, iodine, etc.



                            Allan Balliett <aballiett@...> wrote:
                            No doubt that the terra preta soils are healthy.

                            I was just reading Glaser's AMAZON SOILS book yesterday.

                            It's repeatedly pointed out in various reports in that book that char
                            or no char, another characteristic of the soils is that human waste
                            and fish waste were heavily incorporated into these soils over, in
                            most cases, hundreds of years of time.

                            It's hard to do the American thing and decide that "it's just the
                            charcoal" that makes these soils so special.

                            Also, as little as a year ago people were saying "terra preta
                            involves putting pottery shards and charcoal into the ground" now we
                            are just hearing "char," and the pottery part seems to be being
                            ignored.

                            Worse, it has become clear that some of the examples we had last year
                            of bio-char causing great growth to the soil in short order actually
                            involved impregnating the char with chemmy nitrogen before burying.

                            There's a lot more to be learned about terra preta before we poor
                            dirt farmers need to spend a lot of time or energy making char and
                            digging it into the soil.

                            -Allan Balliett
                            Shepherdstown, WV





                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Jeff
                            ... As always, your voice is freshness in the stale air, Bob. However, I like to comment on the words you would walk on. ... life and all plant fertility, ...
                            Message 13 of 25 , Feb 7 3:04 PM
                            • 0 Attachment
                              >

                              As always, your voice is freshness in the stale air, Bob.
                              However, I like to comment on the words you would walk on.

                              > Disbelieving in carbon char as the elixir and mystical bringer of
                              life and all plant fertility,
                              > Ashes to Ashes, the day after Ash Wednesday. Ashes often contain
                              sodium, titanium, potassium, calcium, silicon, aluminium, magnesium,
                              iron, iodine, etc.
                              >
                              While carbon cannot carry all of life on its back,it is indeed an all
                              star.
                              >
                              > It's hard to do the American thing and decide that "it's just the
                              > charcoal" that makes these soils so special.


                              Quite the contrary, its easy to do the American thing, in fact many
                              all ready have, including Mr. Monie. Its just misleading to do so.

                              Bio-char is an elixir for what ails, industrialized sterile soil.
                              Going from just NPK to something more is a wonderful step in the right
                              direction. Even if it is one baby step at a time.

                              And even as Mr Monie, reminds us ASHES contain a host of other
                              elements- We know wood contains these, and ashes contain them,
                              likewise Char holds these as well. Its an intermediate step in the
                              journey. In fact, Char holds more of these substances because less is
                              lost to volitilization.

                              And the elegant and beautiful thing about Bio-char is the fact that it
                              helps the soil HOLD onto those other necessary nutrients against the
                              erosional and leaching processes. ALso it provides houses and homes,
                              and water and air for microbes to re-establish themselves.

                              It seems that carbon at once plays, quarterback, linemen, and wide
                              recievers, but it still needs help for the running plays, the kicking,
                              and defense.

                              An all star, YES, the whole team, not by a long shot.
                              We all cheer for the heroes the loudest,
                              but are all strangely satisfied when the underdogs win the day.

                              And that's not counting char's possible 'cure' for global warming. But
                              this too should be taken with cation.. take two and CALL me in the
                              morning. It certainly seems unlikely that it will take place in large
                              enough scales to be more than a minor player in that battle.

                              Jeff

                              everyone should give it a try, jsut to let the neighbors know what's
                              out there.
                            • Dieter Brand
                              It is elating, so much fine rhetoric, and that with Carnevale only just over. Decidedly, this year s festivities didn t use up all of our energies and there is
                              Message 14 of 25 , Feb 8 2:22 AM
                              • 0 Attachment
                                It is elating, so much fine rhetoric, and that with Carnevale
                                only just over. Decidedly, this year's festivities didn't use up
                                all of our energies and there is still plenty of carbon to burn.
                                Now we just need somebody to put hand to shovel.

                                >everyone should give it a try, just to let the neighbors know
                                >what's out there.

                                You go first! I'll wait and see. The trouble is, once you
                                have put the stuff in there, there's no way of getting it out
                                again. We will only be able to understand the implications
                                after large scale long-term field tests have been conducted
                                by independent parties under varying soil and climate
                                conditions. How long was it before the downside of NPK
                                fertilization were finally understood? Another magic wand.
                                Even Liebig recanting didn't help once the gravy train
                                was set in motion. That, or course, is not the same
                                thing. It's funny though, more than a century after N
                                was found to be the wonder drug in farming, we have
                                hit on C to solve all our problems. It's a bit like nutrition:
                                first they tell us to eat a lot of vitamins, then it's fibres,
                                then its ... Whatever it does, its good for industry.

                                In the meantime, I will just continue to use plain old
                                organic matter directly, as compost or even as manure.

                                Dieter Brand
                                Portugal

                                PS:
                                Jeff, do you care to comment on something that Allan
                                mentioned in his post, namely that chemical nitrogen was
                                used in field tests with charcoal to offset the effect of the
                                carbon. Wouldn't that make things rather difficult for organic
                                farmers?



                                ---------------------------------
                                Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Elsa Santos
                                After doing a bit of research on dark, rich soils, it seems that char is not that simple, and that living whole organisms such as terra preta and mulata,
                                Message 15 of 25 , Feb 8 4:50 AM
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  After doing a bit of research on dark, rich soils, it seems
                                  that "char" is not that simple, and that living whole organisms such
                                  as terra preta and mulata, that are so complex and are able
                                  to "reproduce" themselves infinitely (if you take a layer of one
                                  meter of terra preta off a site and come back one year later, the
                                  same amount you took out of terra preta will have regrown by then)-
                                  are the result of all organic matter + chunks of partially burned, at
                                  slow, low temperature of still green (resin rich) woods and green
                                  crop left overs. Apparently that's the mix that allows the complex
                                  symbiosis between bacteria, enzymes, and all other elements that make
                                  a up soil. So, maybe it's healthier to dig deeper (no pun intended)
                                  into a subject before making up ones mind and crystalizing a
                                  opinion...

                                  --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Robert Monie <bobm20001@...>
                                  wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Hi Allan,
                                  >
                                  > Thank you for your excellent observations. Fish, of course,
                                  bring us back to seaweed (which many fish consume and which contains
                                  many trace elements besides the supposedly main element of carbon)
                                  and bonemeal (composed of calcium and phosphorus), from time
                                  immemorial staples of organic farming. Silica is also present in the
                                  form of ceramics and clays. Without silica (silicon), plants sag and
                                  fall; imagine cane or grass growing with only carbon to hold it up:
                                  bamboo fields would look like wet noodles drooping in a plate. Human
                                  waste further skewers the formula that carbon = fertility since human
                                  waste includes everything from maganese to molebdyum. The 11th
                                  commandment is or should be "Thou shalt not reduce complexity to one
                                  element." Or, as that famous non-believer H. L. Menken said, "For
                                  every complex question there is a simple answer, and it is always
                                  wrong." In composing the periodic table (surely one of the greatest
                                  achievements of the miserable human race) Mendelev
                                  > did not beat his chest Tarzan ape-man-like and proclaim "Me
                                  carbon, you Jane." He wisely grouped the elements according to their
                                  properties, with hydrogen first and space left for all the heavy
                                  radioactive ones, natural and man-made (or human-induced, if you
                                  prefer). Life at every level is diversity, from the lepton to the
                                  atom to the molecule to the cell to the tissue groups to the systems
                                  to the plants and animals and other forms, to the local ecologies, to
                                  the biosphere, to Gaia. Gaia is GEOLOGY (everything mostly besides
                                  carbon), water (hydrogen and oxygen), and living things together;
                                  that means all the elements in Mendeleev's table, a vast cosmic
                                  rainbow. It takes "rocks and gravel" and water, along with carbon, to
                                  make a mighty world (to paraphrase an old American slave work song),
                                  and carbon "ain't nothing special."
                                  >
                                  > Personally, I tell carbon ("char") to go sit down and take its
                                  place in the bleachers along with the other players. It isn't any
                                  superstar. It has a role to play along with the other elements, and
                                  if its supporters cheer too much, in order to prevent carbon getting
                                  too big a head, we need to call "foul" and eject them from the game
                                  or better still, sentence them to copy the periodic table at least
                                  100 times, pronouncing the names as they go along (and also reciting
                                  the known contribution many of these wonderful elements make to plant
                                  and human nutrition). .
                                  >
                                  > If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a periodic table
                                  of all the elements to bring forth and sustain life on this earth. If
                                  we start inventing carbon idols, worshipping them, and devising
                                  strange myth/theologies in defense of our idol, we will become the
                                  laughing stock of the sustainable farming community.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Disbelieving in carbon char as the elixir and mystical bringer of
                                  life and all plant fertility,
                                  >
                                  > Bob Monie
                                  > New Orleans, LA
                                  > Zone 8
                                  > Ashes to Ashes, the day after Ash Wednesday. Ashes often contain
                                  sodium, titanium, potassium, calcium, silicon, aluminium, magnesium,
                                  iron, iodine, etc.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Allan Balliett <aballiett@...> wrote:
                                  > No doubt that the terra preta soils are healthy.
                                  >
                                  > I was just reading Glaser's AMAZON SOILS book yesterday.
                                  >
                                  > It's repeatedly pointed out in various reports in that book that
                                  char
                                  > or no char, another characteristic of the soils is that human waste
                                  > and fish waste were heavily incorporated into these soils over, in
                                  > most cases, hundreds of years of time.
                                  >
                                  > It's hard to do the American thing and decide that "it's just the
                                  > charcoal" that makes these soils so special.
                                  >
                                  > Also, as little as a year ago people were saying "terra preta
                                  > involves putting pottery shards and charcoal into the ground" now
                                  we
                                  > are just hearing "char," and the pottery part seems to be being
                                  > ignored.
                                  >
                                  > Worse, it has become clear that some of the examples we had last
                                  year
                                  > of bio-char causing great growth to the soil in short order
                                  actually
                                  > involved impregnating the char with chemmy nitrogen before burying.
                                  >
                                  > There's a lot more to be learned about terra preta before we poor
                                  > dirt farmers need to spend a lot of time or energy making char and
                                  > digging it into the soil.
                                  >
                                  > -Allan Balliett
                                  > Shepherdstown, WV
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  >
                                • Robert Monie
                                  Hi Elsa, Yes, agriculture works by complex systems, not Swinging Big-Stuff Casey Carbon at the Bat (Remember in that famous poem Casey Carbon had lots of
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Feb 8 7:00 AM
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Hi Elsa,

                                    Yes, agriculture works by complex systems, not Swinging Big-Stuff Casey Carbon at the Bat (Remember in that famous poem Casey Carbon had lots of confidence, swagger, scary muscles, and a loud cheering squad, but--he struck out). Terra Preta, the complex system, is undoubtedly worthy of great attention and deep study. If I could buy a bag of the stuff, I would try it out (what is the going price, $6,000 a cubic foot?) The question is, as you have suggested, not how much "char" (whatever exactly that is) to add, but how do you encourage Nature to put together a complex system like Terra Preta (which contains the whole elemental alphabet plus innumerable living and nonliving, organic and inorganic molecular constituents, few of which begin with the letter "C," and only one of which is spelled C-a-r-b-o-n. Let's not forget the "R" word, ROOTS. If roots grow deep enough and the environment treats them just right, they and their tiny microbial allies may produce Terra
                                    Preta, with only the bare minimum of assistance from the "Big-C."

                                    Carbon-idolatry is a sin against the natural systems of the world. Instead, let's find out how Terra Preta actually works in its alphabet-soupyness and grow comparable systems in our gardens and fields.

                                    Best wishes,

                                    Bob Monie
                                    New Orleans, LA
                                    Zone 8
                                    Elsa Santos <elsamagosa@...> wrote:
                                    After doing a bit of research on dark, rich soils, it seems
                                    that "char" is not that simple, and that living whole organisms such
                                    as terra preta and mulata, that are so complex and are able
                                    to "reproduce" themselves infinitely (if you take a layer of one
                                    meter of terra preta off a site and come back one year later, the
                                    same amount you took out of terra preta will have regrown by then)-
                                    are the result of all organic matter + chunks of partially burned, at
                                    slow, low temperature of still green (resin rich) woods and green
                                    crop left overs. Apparently that's the mix that allows the complex
                                    symbiosis between bacteria, enzymes, and all other elements that make
                                    a up soil. So, maybe it's healthier to dig deeper (no pun intended)
                                    into a subject before making up ones mind and crystalizing a
                                    opinion...

                                    --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Robert Monie <bobm20001@...>
                                    wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Hi Allan,
                                    >
                                    > Thank you for your excellent observations. Fish, of course,
                                    bring us back to seaweed (which many fish consume and which contains
                                    many trace elements besides the supposedly main element of carbon)
                                    and bonemeal (composed of calcium and phosphorus), from time
                                    immemorial staples of organic farming. Silica is also present in the
                                    form of ceramics and clays. Without silica (silicon), plants sag and
                                    fall; imagine cane or grass growing with only carbon to hold it up:
                                    bamboo fields would look like wet noodles drooping in a plate. Human
                                    waste further skewers the formula that carbon = fertility since human
                                    waste includes everything from maganese to molebdyum. The 11th
                                    commandment is or should be "Thou shalt not reduce complexity to one
                                    element." Or, as that famous non-believer H. L. Menken said, "For
                                    every complex question there is a simple answer, and it is always
                                    wrong." In composing the periodic table (surely one of the greatest
                                    achievements of the miserable human race) Mendelev
                                    > did not beat his chest Tarzan ape-man-like and proclaim "Me
                                    carbon, you Jane." He wisely grouped the elements according to their
                                    properties, with hydrogen first and space left for all the heavy
                                    radioactive ones, natural and man-made (or human-induced, if you
                                    prefer). Life at every level is diversity, from the lepton to the
                                    atom to the molecule to the cell to the tissue groups to the systems
                                    to the plants and animals and other forms, to the local ecologies, to
                                    the biosphere, to Gaia. Gaia is GEOLOGY (everything mostly besides
                                    carbon), water (hydrogen and oxygen), and living things together;
                                    that means all the elements in Mendeleev's table, a vast cosmic
                                    rainbow. It takes "rocks and gravel" and water, along with carbon, to
                                    make a mighty world (to paraphrase an old American slave work song),
                                    and carbon "ain't nothing special."
                                    >
                                    > Personally, I tell carbon ("char") to go sit down and take its
                                    place in the bleachers along with the other players. It isn't any
                                    superstar. It has a role to play along with the other elements, and
                                    if its supporters cheer too much, in order to prevent carbon getting
                                    too big a head, we need to call "foul" and eject them from the game
                                    or better still, sentence them to copy the periodic table at least
                                    100 times, pronouncing the names as they go along (and also reciting
                                    the known contribution many of these wonderful elements make to plant
                                    and human nutrition). .
                                    >
                                    > If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a periodic table
                                    of all the elements to bring forth and sustain life on this earth. If
                                    we start inventing carbon idols, worshipping them, and devising
                                    strange myth/theologies in defense of our idol, we will become the
                                    laughing stock of the sustainable farming community.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Disbelieving in carbon char as the elixir and mystical bringer of
                                    life and all plant fertility,
                                    >
                                    > Bob Monie
                                    > New Orleans, LA
                                    > Zone 8
                                    > Ashes to Ashes, the day after Ash Wednesday. Ashes often contain
                                    sodium, titanium, potassium, calcium, silicon, aluminium, magnesium,
                                    iron, iodine, etc.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Allan Balliett <aballiett@...> wrote:
                                    > No doubt that the terra preta soils are healthy.
                                    >
                                    > I was just reading Glaser's AMAZON SOILS book yesterday.
                                    >
                                    > It's repeatedly pointed out in various reports in that book that
                                    char
                                    > or no char, another characteristic of the soils is that human waste
                                    > and fish waste were heavily incorporated into these soils over, in
                                    > most cases, hundreds of years of time.
                                    >
                                    > It's hard to do the American thing and decide that "it's just the
                                    > charcoal" that makes these soils so special.
                                    >
                                    > Also, as little as a year ago people were saying "terra preta
                                    > involves putting pottery shards and charcoal into the ground" now
                                    we
                                    > are just hearing "char," and the pottery part seems to be being
                                    > ignored.
                                    >
                                    > Worse, it has become clear that some of the examples we had last
                                    year
                                    > of bio-char causing great growth to the soil in short order
                                    actually
                                    > involved impregnating the char with chemmy nitrogen before burying.
                                    >
                                    > There's a lot more to be learned about terra preta before we poor
                                    > dirt farmers need to spend a lot of time or energy making char and
                                    > digging it into the soil.
                                    >
                                    > -Allan Balliett
                                    > Shepherdstown, WV
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    >






                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Jeff
                                    ... Yes, many of the studies about bio-char use chemical nitrogen to amend the bio-char, ... The basic problem is that Terra-praeta is complex, and
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Feb 8 7:26 PM
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      > PS:
                                      > Jeff, do you care to comment on something that Allan
                                      > mentioned in his post, namely that chemical nitrogen was
                                      > used in field tests with charcoal to offset the effect of the
                                      > carbon. Wouldn't that make things rather difficult for organic
                                      > farmers?
                                      >
                                      Yes, many of the studies about bio-char use chemical nitrogen to amend
                                      the bio-char, ...
                                      The basic problem is that Terra-praeta is complex, and reductionist
                                      science does dominate western thought.
                                      Early on, based on several advantages mentioned
                                    • Jeff
                                      - ... Yes, it is true that several experients on bio-char used chemical nitrogen to fertilize and balance available nitrogen. This is of course a symptom of
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Feb 8 7:51 PM
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        -
                                        > PS:
                                        > Jeff, do you care to comment on something that Allan
                                        > mentioned in his post, namely that chemical nitrogen was
                                        > used in field tests with charcoal to offset the effect of the
                                        > carbon. Wouldn't that make things rather difficult for organic
                                        > farmers?

                                        Yes, it is true that several experients on bio-char used chemical
                                        nitrogen to fertilize and balance available nitrogen.

                                        This is of course a symptom of reductionist western science. Because
                                        Terra Praeta is complex, the earliest attempts includes experiment
                                        that involve breaking terra praeta into its constituent parts.
                                        Imediately bio-char stuck out as highly promising.

                                        As previously mentioned it has several advantages for being included
                                        in a system. THe biggest one is of course its ability to hold onto
                                        nutrients and not let them leach.

                                        Leaching is a huge concern (DEAD ZONES, RED TIDES) . In the midwest it
                                        is estimated and only 50-75% of the nitrogen applied is used by crops,
                                        the rest is lost.

                                        That being said, it is quite easy for organic farmers to find Nitrogen
                                        sources that would stay with the land for a relatively long period,.

                                        N fixation by legumes would last for several seasons rather than just one

                                        Fertilizationg with urea (urine) would also result in increase
                                        effieicncy. Lower volitalization and lower leaching would result

                                        Fertilization with manure or compost would likewise have enhanced
                                        benefits.

                                        That being said, the experient deisngs are meant to compare, chemical
                                        nitrogen, vs a ''fertile' bio-char soil. the easiliest and fastest
                                        (and easily reductive way) is to measure it and put it in there with
                                        chemicals. What would be interesting if these (none that i"ve found),
                                        stuck with the experiment for several years, with replicates not
                                        reciveing addition fertilizer etc, just a one time deal.

                                        the increased and modified microbial community would likewise be of
                                        interest, but our understand, and even identifying the players in this
                                        complex are at a very very rudimentary level,.

                                        In terms of soil fertility, nitrogen is the most easy element to
                                        replentish in a broken soil, even easier than char-bon

                                        To me, its important what happens in the long-run, not the short-term.

                                        you are in alaska, you want to get to sweden,
                                        there are two routes, you can fly east-west and take forever, or you
                                        can fly over the pole and be there shortly.

                                        clearly the sooner you get to there the better for you and the world.

                                        If the goal is to produce sustainable agriculture in degraded areas,
                                        the sooner you can get there the better. Even if it takes distasteful
                                        short cuts, in the long run you got where you need to go.

                                        I read so much about how some first world gov't or company comes in
                                        ,to help the third world and leaves without provided continuity.

                                        If you give someone food, they won't starve, but as soon as you pull
                                        out, they are back where they started (prolly starving),

                                        if you give them hybrid seed, again they won't starve... but they
                                        can't reuse the seed, and can't afford it when you leave... also they
                                        may give bad yeilds because poorly adapted and no chemical fertilizer,

                                        if you teach them how save seed (most of them know already), and
                                        create opporunties for long-term benefits (improved cooking stoves,
                                        pressing oil, etc) you've made a difference.

                                        jeff
                                      • Dieter Brand
                                        Jeff, Thanks for bringing light into the carbon jungle. So, terra preta can _in theory_ work with organic farming. We ll just have to wait for that to be
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Feb 9 1:50 AM
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          Jeff,

                                          Thanks for bringing light into the carbon jungle.

                                          So, terra preta can _in theory_ work with organic farming.
                                          We'll just have to wait for that to be demonstrated by
                                          field tests.

                                          But what about no-till? That after all is a requirement
                                          in Natural Farming. Are we back to the one-time-deal
                                          or would regular surface applications with smaller doses
                                          be an option?

                                          I can understand your point about leaching of nutrients.
                                          But that again is first and foremost a problem in
                                          conventional chemicals-based agriculture, and doesn't
                                          that much concern organic farming, and would concern
                                          even less natural farming - if it were practiced.

                                          Painting a bit of a drastic picture, one could perhaps
                                          conclude that terra preta then provides the means for
                                          continuing conventional chemicals-based agriculture,
                                          thus making superfluous the need to convert to a more
                                          sustainable form of agriculture and healthy way of
                                          growing food.

                                          Except, in this scenario too, there is a contradiction
                                          in that all those microbes that seem to find shelter
                                          in the apartment complexes of terra preta may not
                                          be able to enjoy such luxury for long in conventional
                                          agriculture with all its toxic chemicals designed to
                                          kill off all forms of soil life.

                                          Dieter

                                          PS: Just out of curiosity. Does "chemmy remmy"
                                          have the same connotations with you as what is
                                          usually signified by "Remmi-Demmi" in German?

                                          Jeff <shultonus@...> wrote:
                                          -
                                          > PS:
                                          > Jeff, do you care to comment on something that Allan
                                          > mentioned in his post, namely that chemical nitrogen was
                                          > used in field tests with charcoal to offset the effect of the
                                          > carbon. Wouldn't that make things rather difficult for organic
                                          > farmers?

                                          Yes, it is true that several experients on bio-char used chemical
                                          nitrogen to fertilize and balance available nitrogen.

                                          This is of course a symptom of reductionist western science. Because
                                          Terra Praeta is complex, the earliest attempts includes experiment
                                          that involve breaking terra praeta into its constituent parts.
                                          Imediately bio-char stuck out as highly promising.

                                          As previously mentioned it has several advantages for being included
                                          in a system. THe biggest one is of course its ability to hold onto
                                          nutrients and not let them leach.

                                          Leaching is a huge concern (DEAD ZONES, RED TIDES) . In the midwest it
                                          is estimated and only 50-75% of the nitrogen applied is used by crops,
                                          the rest is lost.

                                          That being said, it is quite easy for organic farmers to find Nitrogen
                                          sources that would stay with the land for a relatively long period,.

                                          N fixation by legumes would last for several seasons rather than just one

                                          Fertilizationg with urea (urine) would also result in increase
                                          effieicncy. Lower volitalization and lower leaching would result

                                          Fertilization with manure or compost would likewise have enhanced
                                          benefits.

                                          That being said, the experient deisngs are meant to compare, chemical
                                          nitrogen, vs a ''fertile' bio-char soil. the easiliest and fastest
                                          (and easily reductive way) is to measure it and put it in there with
                                          chemicals. What would be interesting if these (none that i"ve found),
                                          stuck with the experiment for several years, with replicates not
                                          reciveing addition fertilizer etc, just a one time deal.

                                          the increased and modified microbial community would likewise be of
                                          interest, but our understand, and even identifying the players in this
                                          complex are at a very very rudimentary level,.

                                          In terms of soil fertility, nitrogen is the most easy element to
                                          replentish in a broken soil, even easier than char-bon

                                          To me, its important what happens in the long-run, not the short-term.

                                          you are in alaska, you want to get to sweden,
                                          there are two routes, you can fly east-west and take forever, or you
                                          can fly over the pole and be there shortly.

                                          clearly the sooner you get to there the better for you and the world.

                                          If the goal is to produce sustainable agriculture in degraded areas,
                                          the sooner you can get there the better. Even if it takes distasteful
                                          short cuts, in the long run you got where you need to go.

                                          I read so much about how some first world gov't or company comes in
                                          ,to help the third world and leaves without provided continuity.

                                          If you give someone food, they won't starve, but as soon as you pull
                                          out, they are back where they started (prolly starving),

                                          if you give them hybrid seed, again they won't starve... but they
                                          can't reuse the seed, and can't afford it when you leave... also they
                                          may give bad yeilds because poorly adapted and no chemical fertilizer,

                                          if you teach them how save seed (most of them know already), and
                                          create opporunties for long-term benefits (improved cooking stoves,
                                          pressing oil, etc) you've made a difference.

                                          jeff






                                          ---------------------------------
                                          Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        • Elsa Santos
                                          Hi Bob, You re so right... You know, as crazy as main stream, mechanicist science finds it, I believe there is a lot more to life then chemical composition.
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Feb 9 3:48 AM
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            Hi Bob,

                                            You're so right... You know, as crazy as main stream, mechanicist
                                            science finds it, I believe there is a lot more to life then chemical
                                            composition. All the subtlety that pioneers like Rudolph Steiner
                                            (although I don't like the dogmatic attitudes I've seen in most of
                                            his followers) and Masaru Emoto and his Messages in Water (hado.net),
                                            etc... are on to something that science is only beginning to take
                                            seriously. Maybe there is a lot more to Einsteins Elegant Universe,
                                            Super String and the theory of everything. Maybe that realization was
                                            part of Fukuoka's "satori" regaring farming practices... Who knows...
                                            Here is an interesting project that bridges both current scientific
                                            currents and possible the future ones:
                                            http://www.heartmath.org/gcms/index.html

                                            ... and speaking of ashes, but for something completely different,
                                            here's something beautiful: www.ashesandsnow.org

                                            Have a great week =D
                                            Elsa


                                            --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Robert Monie <bobm20001@...>
                                            wrote:
                                            >
                                            > Hi Elsa,
                                            >
                                            > Yes, agriculture works by complex systems, not Swinging Big-Stuff
                                            Casey Carbon at the Bat (Remember in that famous poem Casey Carbon
                                            had lots of confidence, swagger, scary muscles, and a loud cheering
                                            squad, but--he struck out). Terra Preta, the complex system, is
                                            undoubtedly worthy of great attention and deep study. If I could buy
                                            a bag of the stuff, I would try it out (what is the going price,
                                            $6,000 a cubic foot?) The question is, as you have suggested, not
                                            how much "char" (whatever exactly that is) to add, but how do you
                                            encourage Nature to put together a complex system like Terra Preta
                                            (which contains the whole elemental alphabet plus innumerable living
                                            and nonliving, organic and inorganic molecular constituents, few of
                                            which begin with the letter "C," and only one of which is spelled C-a-
                                            r-b-o-n. Let's not forget the "R" word, ROOTS. If roots grow deep
                                            enough and the environment treats them just right, they and their
                                            tiny microbial allies may produce Terra
                                            > Preta, with only the bare minimum of assistance from the "Big-C."
                                            >
                                            > Carbon-idolatry is a sin against the natural systems of the
                                            world. Instead, let's find out how Terra Preta actually works in its
                                            alphabet-soupyness and grow comparable systems in our gardens and
                                            fields.
                                            >
                                            > Best wishes,
                                            >
                                            > Bob Monie
                                            > New Orleans, LA
                                            > Zone 8
                                            > Elsa Santos <elsamagosa@...> wrote:
                                            > After doing a bit of research on dark, rich soils, it
                                            seems
                                            > that "char" is not that simple, and that living whole organisms
                                            such
                                            > as terra preta and mulata, that are so complex and are able
                                            > to "reproduce" themselves infinitely (if you take a layer of one
                                            > meter of terra preta off a site and come back one year later, the
                                            > same amount you took out of terra preta will have regrown by then)-
                                            > are the result of all organic matter + chunks of partially burned,
                                            at
                                            > slow, low temperature of still green (resin rich) woods and green
                                            > crop left overs. Apparently that's the mix that allows the complex
                                            > symbiosis between bacteria, enzymes, and all other elements that
                                            make
                                            > a up soil. So, maybe it's healthier to dig deeper (no pun intended)
                                            > into a subject before making up ones mind and crystalizing a
                                            > opinion...
                                            >
                                            > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Robert Monie <bobm20001@>
                                            > wrote:
                                            > >
                                            > > Hi Allan,
                                            > >
                                            > > Thank you for your excellent observations. Fish, of course,
                                            > bring us back to seaweed (which many fish consume and which
                                            contains
                                            > many trace elements besides the supposedly main element of carbon)
                                            > and bonemeal (composed of calcium and phosphorus), from time
                                            > immemorial staples of organic farming. Silica is also present in
                                            the
                                            > form of ceramics and clays. Without silica (silicon), plants sag
                                            and
                                            > fall; imagine cane or grass growing with only carbon to hold it up:
                                            > bamboo fields would look like wet noodles drooping in a plate.
                                            Human
                                            > waste further skewers the formula that carbon = fertility since
                                            human
                                            > waste includes everything from maganese to molebdyum. The 11th
                                            > commandment is or should be "Thou shalt not reduce complexity to
                                            one
                                            > element." Or, as that famous non-believer H. L. Menken said, "For
                                            > every complex question there is a simple answer, and it is always
                                            > wrong." In composing the periodic table (surely one of the greatest
                                            > achievements of the miserable human race) Mendelev
                                            > > did not beat his chest Tarzan ape-man-like and proclaim "Me
                                            > carbon, you Jane." He wisely grouped the elements according to
                                            their
                                            > properties, with hydrogen first and space left for all the heavy
                                            > radioactive ones, natural and man-made (or human-induced, if you
                                            > prefer). Life at every level is diversity, from the lepton to the
                                            > atom to the molecule to the cell to the tissue groups to the
                                            systems
                                            > to the plants and animals and other forms, to the local ecologies,
                                            to
                                            > the biosphere, to Gaia. Gaia is GEOLOGY (everything mostly besides
                                            > carbon), water (hydrogen and oxygen), and living things together;
                                            > that means all the elements in Mendeleev's table, a vast cosmic
                                            > rainbow. It takes "rocks and gravel" and water, along with carbon,
                                            to
                                            > make a mighty world (to paraphrase an old American slave work
                                            song),
                                            > and carbon "ain't nothing special."
                                            > >
                                            > > Personally, I tell carbon ("char") to go sit down and take its
                                            > place in the bleachers along with the other players. It isn't any
                                            > superstar. It has a role to play along with the other elements, and
                                            > if its supporters cheer too much, in order to prevent carbon
                                            getting
                                            > too big a head, we need to call "foul" and eject them from the game
                                            > or better still, sentence them to copy the periodic table at least
                                            > 100 times, pronouncing the names as they go along (and also
                                            reciting
                                            > the known contribution many of these wonderful elements make to
                                            plant
                                            > and human nutrition). .
                                            > >
                                            > > If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a periodic table
                                            > of all the elements to bring forth and sustain life on this earth.
                                            If
                                            > we start inventing carbon idols, worshipping them, and devising
                                            > strange myth/theologies in defense of our idol, we will become the
                                            > laughing stock of the sustainable farming community.
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > Disbelieving in carbon char as the elixir and mystical bringer of
                                            > life and all plant fertility,
                                            > >
                                            > > Bob Monie
                                            > > New Orleans, LA
                                            > > Zone 8
                                            > > Ashes to Ashes, the day after Ash Wednesday. Ashes often contain
                                            > sodium, titanium, potassium, calcium, silicon, aluminium,
                                            magnesium,
                                            > iron, iodine, etc.
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > Allan Balliett <aballiett@> wrote:
                                            > > No doubt that the terra preta soils are healthy.
                                            > >
                                            > > I was just reading Glaser's AMAZON SOILS book yesterday.
                                            > >
                                            > > It's repeatedly pointed out in various reports in that book that
                                            > char
                                            > > or no char, another characteristic of the soils is that human
                                            waste
                                            > > and fish waste were heavily incorporated into these soils over,
                                            in
                                            > > most cases, hundreds of years of time.
                                            > >
                                            > > It's hard to do the American thing and decide that "it's just the
                                            > > charcoal" that makes these soils so special.
                                            > >
                                            > > Also, as little as a year ago people were saying "terra preta
                                            > > involves putting pottery shards and charcoal into the ground" now
                                            > we
                                            > > are just hearing "char," and the pottery part seems to be being
                                            > > ignored.
                                            > >
                                            > > Worse, it has become clear that some of the examples we had last
                                            > year
                                            > > of bio-char causing great growth to the soil in short order
                                            > actually
                                            > > involved impregnating the char with chemmy nitrogen before
                                            burying.
                                            > >
                                            > > There's a lot more to be learned about terra preta before we poor
                                            > > dirt farmers need to spend a lot of time or energy making char
                                            and
                                            > > digging it into the soil.
                                            > >
                                            > > -Allan Balliett
                                            > > Shepherdstown, WV
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            > >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            >
                                          • Jeff
                                            ... No till should be no problem, your normal fertilization regime will work (although enhanced)or if you use none, the natural processes will lose less and
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Feb 9 10:42 AM
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                                              > But what about no-till? That after all is a requirement
                                              > in Natural Farming. Are we back to the one-time-deal
                                              > or would regular surface applications with smaller doses
                                              > be an option?

                                              No till should be no problem, your normal fertilization regime will
                                              work (although enhanced)or if you use none, the natural processes will
                                              lose less and the result should be a higher functioning system

                                              and doesn't
                                              > that much concern organic farming, and would concern
                                              > even less natural farming - if it were practiced.

                                              While organic farming does have less leaching than conventional, it is
                                              far from none. (I haven't seen data on natural farming).
                                              I'm thinking in geologic scales here, and this of course applies much
                                              much more in humid regions. All soils lose nutrients though geologic
                                              time, they are leached and lost due to ersion. This is true even in
                                              natural habitat like Rain Forests...

                                              >
                                              > Painting a bit of a drastic picture, one could perhaps
                                              > conclude that terra preta then provides the means for
                                              > continuing conventional chemicals-based agriculture,
                                              > thus making superfluous the need to convert to a more
                                              > sustainable form of agriculture and healthy way of
                                              > growing food.
                                              > Except, in this scenario too, there is a contradiction
                                              > in that all those microbes that seem to find shelter
                                              > in the apartment complexes of terra preta may not
                                              > be able to enjoy such luxury for long in conventional
                                              > agriculture with all its toxic chemicals designed to
                                              > kill off all forms of soil life.
                                              >
                                              While it does allow conventional agriculture to continue, as mentioned
                                              previously I beleive it is a baby step in the right direction.
                                              As yeilds become a higher and higher priorty and the crops eventually
                                              hit the biological maximum through breeding, treating the soil will
                                              become more and more important over time.

                                              > PS: Just out of curiosity. Does "chemmy remmy"
                                              > have the same connotations with you as what is
                                              > usually signified by "Remmi-Demmi" in German?
                                              >

                                              Chemical Remedy -chemmy remmy
                                              I don't speak a lick of German
                                            • Dieter Brand
                                              ... Now, I m glad I asked. I thought your were talking of having a bit of the hullabaloo or perhaps an old-fashioned board game, which is what the similar
                                              Message 22 of 25 , Feb 9 11:25 AM
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                                                > Chemical Remedy -chemmy remmy

                                                Now, I'm glad I asked. I thought your were talking of
                                                having a bit of the hullabaloo or perhaps an old-fashioned
                                                board game, which is what the similar sounding
                                                German term refers to.

                                                Dieter


                                                ---------------------------------
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                                              • Nakka Sai Bhaskar Reddy
                                                Dear All, This is an interesting article published in Scientific American on terra preta. Special Report: Inspired by Ancient Amazonians, a Plan to Convert
                                                Message 23 of 25 , Feb 19 8:34 PM
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                                                  Dear All,

                                                  This is an interesting article published in Scientific American on
                                                  terra preta.

                                                  "Special Report: Inspired by Ancient Amazonians, a Plan to Convert
                                                  Trash into Environmental Treasure
                                                  New bill in U.S. Senate will advocate adoption of "agrichar" method
                                                  that could lessen our dependence on fossil fuel and help avert
                                                  global warming
                                                  By Anne Casselman"

                                                  http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=5670236C-E7F2-99DF-
                                                  3E2163B9FB144E40&page=3

                                                  Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy
                                                  http://www.e-geo.org


                                                  --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Dieter Brand <diebrand@...>
                                                  wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > >There is a quite a lot of information online about the background
                                                  > >and current research and progress.
                                                  >
                                                  > John, many thanks for posting the terra preta links.
                                                  Unfortunately,
                                                  > my Internet connection isn't up to watching videos online. And,
                                                  > most of us find that eyesight decreases in direct proportion to
                                                  > the increase in age, which makes us rather more selective about
                                                  > what we read and what not. I had thus hoped, however selfishly,
                                                  > that the gentleman from India would be inclined to share his
                                                  > experience in this matter so as to remove all doubts from our
                                                  > mind.
                                                  >
                                                  > Dieter Brand
                                                  > Portugal
                                                  >
                                                  > johnmacmot <johnmacmot@...> wrote:
                                                  > The Terra Preta phenomenon is something I've recently
                                                  become aware of myself. There is
                                                  > a quite a lot of information online about the background and
                                                  current research and
                                                  > progress.
                                                  >
                                                  > here are some good starting links:
                                                  > Horizon documentary that does a useful job of outlining the Terra
                                                  Preta origins and
                                                  > characteristics in the Amazon Basin -
                                                  http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-
                                                  > 2809044795781727003&q=amazon+bbc&pr=goog-sl
                                                  >
                                                  > The Cornell University site where quite a lot of research work has
                                                  been focused:
                                                  >
                                                  http://www.css.cornell.edu/faculty/lehmann/terra_preta/TerraPretahome
                                                  .htm
                                                  >
                                                  > The main discussion forum on the subject:
                                                  > http://forums.hypography.com/terra-preta.html
                                                  >
                                                  > If you dig around these sites you will get a good picture of an
                                                  interesting and potentially
                                                  > quite significant subject.
                                                  >
                                                  > John McFadgen
                                                  >
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