An Investigation of Black Carbon Degradation Potential in a Forest Soil Environment
William, H. C.; Lee, E.; Grannas, A.; Hatcher, P. G.
American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2003, abstract #B21B-0711, 12/2003

Except for emission processes, there is currently little understanding of the mechanisms driving the degradation and biogeochemical cycling of black carbon (BC). Considering current estimates of the global BC pool (>2,500x1015gC), and its annual emission rates (55-205x1012 gC/year), BC represents roughly 16% of Earth's actively cycling organic carbon. Without significant chemical and biological degradation pathways, all of the actively cycling carbon on earth would have accumulated as charcoal in

Terra Preta de Indio
Johannes Lehmann. Soil Biogeochemistry, Cornell University January 2007

"Terra Preta de Indio" (Amazonian Dark Earths; earlier also called "Terra Preta do Indio" or Indian Black Earth) is the local name for certain dark earths in the Brazilian Amazon region. These dark earths occur, however, in several countries in South America and probably beyond. They were most likely created by pre-Columbian Indians from 500 to 2500 years B.P. and abandoned after the invasion of Europeans (Smith, 1980; Woods et al., 2000). However, many questions are still unanswered with respect to their origin, distribution, and properties.


Introduction: Bio-char: the new frontier
Johannes Lehmann, Soil Biogeochemistry, Cornell University

Inspired by the fascinating properties of Terra Preta de Indio, bio-char is a soil amendment that has the potential to revolutionize concepts of soil management. While "discovered" may not be the right word, as bio-char (also called charcoal or biomass-derived black carbon) has been used in traditional agricultural practices as well as in modern horticulture, never before has evidence been accumulating that demonstrates so convincingly that bio-char has very specific and unique properties that make it stand out among the opportunities for sustainable soil management.

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