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Mysteries and musings at the biochar/plant/stress/ growing media interface
Year:
2021
Source of publication :
Acta Horticulturae
Authors :
Graber, Ellen
;
.
Volume :
1317
Co-Authors:

Graber E.R.

Facilitators :
From page:
65
To page:
77
(
Total pages:
13
)
Abstract:

Since the late 1990s revival of the pyrolysis/biochar platform by the soil scientist Wim Sombroek, who promoted the development of “Terra Preta Nova”, people’s reactions to Biochar have taken on an almost religious fervor. There is a large set of enthusiasts, scientists and business people that makes up the ‘believers’, a similar group comprising the ‘non-believers’, and yet a third collection of people who find themselves at the interface – the ‘agnostics’. Indeed, delving into the literature, whether it be black, gray, or otherwise, one learns that biochar can improve almost anything: soil fertility, climate change, farmer’s yields, planetary albedo, waste treatment, animal health, soil pollution, bioenergy, building composites, air quality, etc. the list is practically endless. At the same time, we learn that biochar has numerous negative attributes: toxic to fauna and flora, locks up nutrients, releases rather than sequesters soil carbon, hazardous to health, flammable, emits gaseous and particulate air pollutants, causes waterlogging, contains dangerous organic and metallic pollutants, and more. Pity the poor agnostics – usually scientists – who are supposed to make sense of this all. They often find themselves at the intersection between two polarized sects. This is because the impact of the pyrolysis/biochar platform is generally a function of its extent of implementation, for example, in soil, the amount added. In other words, to credit Paracelsus, “The dose makes the poison”. The other difficulty is that the biochar, particularly when used in soil systems, becomes a part of an already complex and multifaceted network of linked micro and macro compartments, where processes in one will then feed back into others, most commonly in obscure and unknown ways. Often a concentration that benefits one aspect may be detrimental to another. Pulling apart and looking at some of these intricacies through the lens of research from my group is the purpose of this address.

Note:
Related Files :
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disease
Dose-response
Growth
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More details
DOI :
Article number:
0
Affiliations:
Database:
Scopus
Publication Type:
Conference paper
;
.
Language:
English
Editors' remarks:
ID:
56038
Last updated date:
02/03/2022 17:27
Creation date:
23/08/2021 11:39
Scientific Publication
Mysteries and musings at the biochar/plant/stress/ growing media interface
1317

Graber E.R.

Since the late 1990s revival of the pyrolysis/biochar platform by the soil scientist Wim Sombroek, who promoted the development of “Terra Preta Nova”, people’s reactions to Biochar have taken on an almost religious fervor. There is a large set of enthusiasts, scientists and business people that makes up the ‘believers’, a similar group comprising the ‘non-believers’, and yet a third collection of people who find themselves at the interface – the ‘agnostics’. Indeed, delving into the literature, whether it be black, gray, or otherwise, one learns that biochar can improve almost anything: soil fertility, climate change, farmer’s yields, planetary albedo, waste treatment, animal health, soil pollution, bioenergy, building composites, air quality, etc. the list is practically endless. At the same time, we learn that biochar has numerous negative attributes: toxic to fauna and flora, locks up nutrients, releases rather than sequesters soil carbon, hazardous to health, flammable, emits gaseous and particulate air pollutants, causes waterlogging, contains dangerous organic and metallic pollutants, and more. Pity the poor agnostics – usually scientists – who are supposed to make sense of this all. They often find themselves at the intersection between two polarized sects. This is because the impact of the pyrolysis/biochar platform is generally a function of its extent of implementation, for example, in soil, the amount added. In other words, to credit Paracelsus, “The dose makes the poison”. The other difficulty is that the biochar, particularly when used in soil systems, becomes a part of an already complex and multifaceted network of linked micro and macro compartments, where processes in one will then feed back into others, most commonly in obscure and unknown ways. Often a concentration that benefits one aspect may be detrimental to another. Pulling apart and looking at some of these intricacies through the lens of research from my group is the purpose of this address.

Scientific Publication
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