ECHOcommunity Conversations

The use of biochar in agricultural systems

Wondering what experience folks have had with the use of biochar, and from the ECHO staff, what the latest information is about how biochar is being used to increase the organic life of a soil and improve agricultural productivity and sustainability

Here is an article from Asia Notes (AN), 2011-04-01, with several links to Biochar related sites:

This is a great topic to revisit! It would be wonderful to get more feedback on current experiences. Here is a list to generate some thoughts, but the input from network members is most desired.

“Putting Biochar to Use at the Edge: Quality, Soils and Measurement” is an excellent article in Asia Note #35. The information about biochar use on the ground, so to speak, working with resource-limited farmers is pertinent and applicable. I also really appreciate the conversation on how to get useful data using scientific principles in a context with very limited ability to measure things precisely. I was also challenged by the observation that soil maps are available online now. I like to believe that I am a soil geek, but I gave up a long time ago trying to make sense of the scientific soil classifications. Dr. Shafer “shamed” me.

ECHO Asia has been conducting an introductory training in Soil Science over the past couple of months.

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Biochar? Anyone out there? Would love to hear about more on the ground experiences, good or bad.

Here is a report on work done with resource-poor farmers in southwestern Cameroon:

Here is a system for producing charcoal from agricultural waste. The stated goal in the video is to produce charcoal briquettes, but the charcoal produced is also optimal for mixing with soil. We were working with this technique in two or three areas of Haiti, until we discovered the wealth of charcoal powder available at all of the local marketplaces in the spaces where women have been selling charcoal for decades.