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[permaculture] Glomalin & carbon sequestration in soil
>From: Steve Diver <steved@IPA.NET>
>Sent: May 18, 2007 6:57 PM
>Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] Agrichar
>In my view, working in soil biology and humus farming, terra
>preta and the related biochar experience is one of the most
>fascinating and exciting things to come along.
>Charcoal combines with organic matter... through
>microbial action... to create a humic form of recalcitrant
>organic matter that increases nutrient holding capacity,
>microbial habitat, bioavailable nutrients, and related
>benefits to soils, plants, and microbes. That sounds to
>me like plain good old fashioned organic agriculture.
>An amazing thing to most Westerners is coming to realize
>that Amazonian Indians figured this out a couple thousand
>years ago. Terra preta opens a whole new door of learning
>to explore the history of the Amazon, its peoples and its
>While commercial interests will explore commercialization
>of agrichar, farmers will continue to employ local methods.
>There are web manuals on making bamboo charcoal, carbonized
>rice hulls, and related charcoal-based materials.
>Meanwhile, amidst a growing interest in carbon sequestration,
>I'd like people to keep in mind that we already have several
>decades of data and experience that shows how to increase
>soil organic matter through biological farming methods.
>The Carbon Catcher Program, a project of the non-profit
>Water Foundation in Minnesota, was a program in the early
>to mid 1990s that emphasized humus building in biological
>farming systems for the purpose of capturing carbon.
>The Carbon Catcher Program
>More recently, at the Acres USA conference in 2006,
>Pat Herbert had soil test reports that showed how
>humified compost, aka Luebke compost, helped increase
>the percent soil organic matter on his soil test from
>0.9% to 4.1% over a ten year period on his broadscale
>organic vegetable farm in Hollister, CA. This is
>a tremendous increase on soil OM. Humified compost
>is a clay-amended compost that forms clay-humus
>Controlled Microbial Composting and Humus Management:
>by Steve Diver
>In addition, Dr. Paul Hepperly spoke at the Acres USA
>conference about the Rodale Research Institute's
>research on clay-, calcium- and humic-acid amended
>composts. Rodale found that this type of amended-compost
>helps accelerate soil aggregation, reduces N losses,
>reduces odors, reduce pathogens, etc... as the
>NewFarm.org article below nicely summarizes.
>Good compost made better: The Rodale Institute takes “black gold”
>one step further.
>By Christine Ziegler Ulsh with Paul Hepperly, PhD
>Dr. Selman Waksman the famous microbiologist at Rutgers
>University wrote about the critical importance of
>clay-humus in soils, and how to promote this through
>clay amendments to compost.
>Paul Hepperly credits Dr. Frank Stevenson, soil scientist
>at University of Illinois, for concepts on soil
>organic matter stabilization and clay-humus formation.
>And now we're just becoming familiar with the methods of
>Amazonian Indian, masters of terra preta.
>So there are new ways and old ways, and really old ways,
>to achieve similar goals.
>Keep on digging,
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