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Harvesting Biochar from Redwood Forest...

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Hey there permies,

I currently live in santa cruz, CA in the mountains which are dominated by a redwood forest. This place has had a history of fires (mostly low intensity) in the redwood understory. I notice when I am wandering around the forest that i see old stumps that were previously cut down by loggers about 60-100 years ago. These stumps, however, are covered in what looks like biochar! So i had this crazy thought that I could simply harvest the biochar by scraping it off with my knife into a bag. This biochar is already infused with native micro-organisms as it has been immersed in the fungal and bacterial rich forest. I would like to do a couple tests on the biochar to learn more about it: PH test and bacterial/fungal inspection (with microscope). I will try to get photos in the near future...

What are your thoughts on this?
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As long as you're not taking away native plants/animals from the area, I think it's absolutely awesome! The microbial richness and diversity of that old redwood forest must be amazing. I am very, very jealous. I studied microbiology in college, so "wee beasties" make me happy.
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Location: zone 7
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when i first started experimenting with biochar years ago i would collect char from wildfires. it worked good until i knew i needed more because it works so good.
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This is the finest explanation I have read on the process of
[size=10pt]biochar testing[/size].
Hugh lays it out like medical triage to extract the data most needed for soil carbon sequestration. A triage for all levels of competence, the Para-Medic Gardener to the Surgeon Chem-Engineer.

Field Trial Data Base; The new version of BiocharDB has been released! To see it, please visit http://biocharbazaar.org.

NASA’s Space Archaeology; $364K Terra Preta Program

UK Biochar Research Centre

Virginia Tech is in their 5 th year with the Carbon Char Group's "CharGrow" formulated bagged product.  An idea whose time has come | Carbon Char Group
The 2008 trials at Virginia Tech showed a 46% increase in yield of tomato transplants grown with just 2 - 5 cups (2 - 5%) "CharGrow" per cubic foot of growing medium.  http://www.carbonchar.com/plant-performance

USDA in their 3 nd year by Dr. Jeff Novak at ARS
There are dozens soil researchers on the subject now at USDA-ARS.
and many studies at The  ASA-CSSA-SSSA joint meeting;

Nikolaus has been at it 4 years. Nikolaus Foidl,
His current work with aspirin is Amazing in Maize, 250% yield gains, 15 cobs per plant;

My 09 field trials with the Rodale Institute & JMU ;
Alterna Biocarbon and Cowboy Charcoal Virginia field trials '09

Most recent studies out;
Imperial College test,
This work in temperate soils gives data from which one can calculate savings on fertilizer use, which is expected to be ongoing with no additional soil amending.

The BlueLeaf Inc./ Dynamotive study are exciting results given how far north the site is at 45 degrees, and the low application rates. I suspect, as we saw with the Imperial College test, the yield benefits seem to decrease the cooler the climate. In 2008, a 20% increase in grain yield was shown and for a forage mixture in 2009 a 100% increase in fresh biomass was obtained. Other parameters showing increases with CQuest Biochar included earthworm, nematode and mycorrhizal root colonization, supporting the hypothesis that biochar may serve as a refuge for soil microbes. Surface soil water infiltration was also greater in biochar amended soil.

Yeast devil! Back to the oven that baked you! And take this tiny ad too:
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
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