Sustainable agriculture

From the Ithaka journal, "Biochar in poultry farming "

This is a practical article that provides simple advice for using biochar to help manage disease in commercial poultry operations. The authors point out that many birds end up spending time in direct contact with their manure and suggest blending 5-10% by volume biochar into the bedding or silage used to in the coops and poultry houses can help the birds resist diseases in addition to helping filter the ammonia and reducing the impacts of the bird wastes.

The primary article also gives specific recommendations for using biochar in feed to help prevent intestinal diseases, and they recommend the following studies:

A study recently completed in New Zealand found that adding biochar to the soils of pastures where Cows (ruminants) were grazing sharply decreased the excess nitrous oxide from the cows urine. It appears that the biochar helps the soil absorb the extra gasses although long term testing of the effect of cow urine and pasture with biochar still needs to be done.

You can get the Full Report, or read the Abstract from the American Society of Agronomy web site:

Biochar Incorporation into Pasture Soil Suppresses in situ Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Ruminant Urine Patches
by Arezoo Taghizadeh-Toosi,Tim J. Clougha, Leo M. Condronab, Robert R. Sherlocka, Craig R. Andersonb and Robin A. Craigiec
Published in the Journal of Environmental Quality Vol. 40 No. 2, p. 468-476

A summary is here: Can Biochar Help Suppress Greenhouse Gases?

Good Stoves and Biochar Communities (GSBC) Project - Supported by, France, implemented by GEO


Regarding impact of Pottery shards in the soil there were several questions. I had been searching for pottery shards in the agricultural fields and most often and I got to see some pottery shards in the field. Where ever agriculture was the main livelihood, high densities of populations existence, civilization at the helm and space was a constraint, innovations were adopted by humans, and such practices are sustainable even now.
For more photographs and relevant links see

The charcoal and pottery shards are the two most common by-products of human habitats. At least some charcoal / biochar along with ash was contributed by the people living in habitations in the past (see table in the above link). The availability of the quantity of such by-product, ingenious use, management and development are the aspects still to be discovered. If charcoal / pottery shards did not occur in certain areas in spite of human settlements existence, than there must be some reason yet to be discovered. But both charcoal and pottery existence as a result of human activities was beyond history, so there is no reason why these things are not seen.

The fired pottery made up of clay is most popular. Still the poor people in rural villages in parts of India cook in the clay pots. The pots used for drinking water collection is most common, even today millions of pots are produced and used all over India every year, the usage would be more especially during summers. The evaporation of the water from the fine pores of the pot cool the water inside the pot. The temperature would be at least 5 deg centigrade less than the surrounding air temp. The cooling effects would be very high under less relative humidity conditions. The roofs made up of clay tiles also provide cool shelter, and very much useful in the tropics where temperatures are very high during summers. For majority of the main festivals pots or pottery items are used. From Birth to death, for all important occasions pottery items are used.

Bear Kaufmann. Initially posted April 7, 2008. Updated August 5, 2008.


Comment to bioenergy with carbon storage (BECS)
Christoph Steiner, to the Terra Preta Discussion List, November 8, 2007

Carbon-negative bioenergy to cut global warming could drive deforestation:
An interview on BECS with Biopact’s Laurens Rademakers (November 6, 2007)

The article on deals about a proposed mechanism for generating carbon-negative bioenergy. Bioenergy with carbon storage (BECS) holds out the prospect of reducing CO2 from the atmosphere while producing carbon-negative energy. The article provides an informative introduction on how “carbon-negativity” is feasible and assumes geosequestration (developed from the “clean coal” industry,
CO2 capture in depleted oil and gas fields, saline aquifers etc.) as the sequestering tool. Laurens Rademakers delineates the risks such as deforestation of tropical rainforests and leakage of geosequestration. In addition these technologies require vast capital inputs and large scale projects.

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