Charcoal in Soil

Tom Miles

Charcoal in Soil
Nikolaus Foidl, Bolivia, February 7, 2008

Dear All!

In those photos you can see 3 to 5 year old charcoal stripes left over from the forest burnings, in some fotos as dark green stripes and in some as white stripes where nothing is growing. The growth in the beginning depends on the type of grass you are planting, some cannot grow with this high level of potassium others love this high level of potassium and thrive extraordinarily well on it.

[Select photo to enlarge]





In the next set of photos you see as well a actual forest being chained down, after chaining down the wood is lined up with caterpillars into 4 parallel rows partially covered with loose soil and then burned up in 24 hours. The piles of wood get up to 10 meters high and the pile on the base is some 12 to 15 meters wide and as long as the fields are. Afterwards with a plow with 60" diameter disks the whole field is turned over to get the remaining roots out. Those are burned as well in the same rows where the stems where burned or charred.

One photo shows the fields after 15 years and there is no visible evidence anymore of the existence of those high volume charcoal stripes all though the charcoal is still in the soil. So the "growth enhancing effect" is fading away. The only thing I could try from the plain is to use a spectral reflectance camera to see if different nutrient uptake gives us an image in spectral reflectance.
Best regards Nikolaus




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