The Biochar Solution: Carbon Farming and Climate Change [NOOK Book]

Overview


Conventional agriculture destroys our soils, pollutes our water, and is a major contributor to climate change. What if our agricultural practices could stabilize, or even reverse these trends?

The Biochar Solution explores the dual function of biochar as a carbon-negative energy source and a potent soil-builder. Created by burning biomass in the absence of oxygen, this material has the unique ability to hold carbon back from the atmosphere while simultaneously enhancing soil ...

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The Biochar Solution: Carbon Farming and Climate Change

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Overview


Conventional agriculture destroys our soils, pollutes our water, and is a major contributor to climate change. What if our agricultural practices could stabilize, or even reverse these trends?

The Biochar Solution explores the dual function of biochar as a carbon-negative energy source and a potent soil-builder. Created by burning biomass in the absence of oxygen, this material has the unique ability to hold carbon back from the atmosphere while simultaneously enhancing soil fertility. Albert Bates traces the evolution of this extraordinary substance, from the ancient black soils of the Amazon to its reappearance as a modern carbon sequestration strategy.

Combining practical techniques for the production and use of biochar with an overview of the development and future of carbon farming, The Biochar Solution describes how a new agricultural revolution can reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to below zero while increasing world food reserves and creating energy from biomass wastes. Biochar and carbon farming can:


*Reduce fossil fuels inputs into our food system
*Bring new life to desert landscapes
*Filter and purify drinking water
*Help build carbon-negative homes, communities, and nations

Biochar is not without dangers if unregulated, and it is not a panacea, but if it fulfills its promise of taking us back from the brink of irreversible climate change, it may well be the most important discovery in human history.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Review BioScience Magazine, October 2011

For those who are not scientists directly involved with biochar, this is a book worth reading. It presents the science that got biochar rolling, the technologies already available, and how to use it to enhance food security and restore degraded agroecosystems. It is well designed for international agricultural aid staff, nongovernmental organization activists, and agricultural extensionists. Anyone interested in climate change mitigation and adaptation will gain something from this book, because Bates is careful to point out that mitigation and adaptation will only succeed if global society decides to change the ways it thinks about population and consumption.

BioScience, Vol. 61, No. 10 (October 2011), pp. 831-833
University of California Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences

May 2011 CHOICE
The basic premise of this book is that the carbon cycle must be balanced for a healthy planet. To prove this idea, Bates, an instructor and writer (
Climate in Crisis, 1990; The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook, 2006), claims that when ancient Amazonian civilizations collapsed, rain forests engulfed the cities and roads. Archaeologists and historians are still puzzled about the reasons for the demise of these Amazonian empires. Bates asserts that starting around the ninth century, Europe began growing colder due to massive sequestering of carbon from the atmosphere by these new immense Amazonian forests. He examines several techniques for combating global warming, such as using biochar and less destructive tilling techniques, and restraining global corporations that manufacture synthetic fertilizers and genetically modified seed stocks. The author also recommends massive tree planting and a change in cultural attitudes about how humans manage Earth's resources. One unique solution to global warming is to provide poor, rural third world people with biochar stoves that generate needed heat and produce biochar. Agricultural use of biochar would reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and slow down global warming.

Summing Up: Recommended. All undergraduate students and general readers interested in biochar. -- K. Bennett, emeritus, Kalamazoo Valley Community College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550924596
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/23/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Albert Bates was a delegate to the Copenhagen climate conference, trying to point the world back towards a stable atmosphere using soils and trees. His books include Climate in Crisis and The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook. Working with the Global Ecovillage Network he has taught appropriate technology, natural building and permaculture to students from more than sixty nations.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Foreword Dr. Vandana Shiva xi

Introduction 1

Book I Losing the Recipe

Chapter 1 The Roots of a Predicament 9

Chapter 2 Sombroek's Vision 13

Chapter 3 Conquistadors 15

Chapter 4 El Dorado 19

Chapter 5 The Great White Way 25

Chapter 6 The View from the Bluff 30

Chapter 7 Confederados 36

Chapter 8 Hartt's Breakthrough 39

Chapter 9 City Z 43

Book II Agriculture and Climate

Chapter 10 Making Sand 49

Chapter 11 The Moldboard 55

Chapter 12 Changing the Paradigm 58

Chapter 13 The Amazon and the Ice Age 63

Chapter 14 Predicting Climate's Meander 67

Book III Capturing Carbon

Chapter 15 Carbon Farming 75

Chapter 16 Understanding Soil 82

Chapter 17 The Soil Food Web 91

Chapter 18 The Role of Ruminants 98

Chapter 19 Compost 102

Chapter 20 Tea Craft and Designer Biochar 107

Chapter 21 From Biochar to Terra Preta 113

Chapter 22 Making Charcoal 121

Chapter 23 Stove Wars 125

Book IV Gardening the Earth

Chapter 24 Milpas 141

Chapter 25 Chinampas 146

Chapter 26 Trees 149

Chapter 27 The Power of Youth 154

Chapter 28 Greening the Desert 159

Chapter 29 Sahara Forest 161

Chapter 30 Drey's Challenge 164

Book V At the Turning Point

Chapter 31 The Biochar Critique 169

Chapter 32 Carbon Trading 177

Chapter 33 The International Biochar Initiative 181

Chapter 34 Permaculture Marines 184

Chapter 35 Carbon-Negative Communities 188

Notes 197

Index 205

About the Author 209

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