Climatefarming in northern Senegal

Definition Climatefarming en francais

Definition Climate Farming

Climate farming uses agricultural means to keep carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses from escaping into the atmosphere. Like organic farming, climate farming maintains biodiversity and ecological balance on productive, argicultural land. But climate farmers like Hans-Peter Schmidt go a step further and covert leftover organic mass into biochar, a solid carbon compound that can improve soil quality. Biochar production also creates a kind of gas that can then be burned to help generate power. A climate farm could grow food, generate power, and help keep carbon out of the air.

Climatefarming – Pour une agriculture durable

von Hans-Peter Schmidt

Le climatefarming est souvent décrit comme une méthode agricole au moyen de laquelle du CO2 est prélevé de l’atmosphère et stocké de façon stable dans le sol sous forme de carbone. Ceci pourrait permettre de freiner le changement climatique. Mais le climatefarming, c’est également un concept écologique durable pour l’agriculture du future, qui produira aussi bien des denrées alimentaires que de l’énergie et de l’air propre, encouragera la biodiversité et protégera le paysage.

Au travers de leurs feuilles, les plantes prélèvent du dioxyde de carbone contenu dans l’air et le transforment à l’aide de la lumière, de substances minérales et de l’eau en molécules carboniques. Lorsque la plante meurt ou pourrit, ou si elle est mangée et digérée, les molécules longues de carbone sont de nouveau scindées. Ce processus libère de l’énergie et donc du carbone qui, composé à plus de 99% de CO2, s’évapore dans l’atmosphère. (en savoir plus ...)

Google News: deforestation

Climatefarmingprojekt Öfen für Afrika

Mittwoch, 2. Oktober 2013

Biokohle im Boden reduziert Treibhausgasemissionen

Biokohle im Boden reduziert Treibhausgasemissionen: "

„Durch die Erhöhung der Wasserspeicherkapazität und der Bindung der Nährstoffe wird die Fruchtbarkeit des Bodens erhöht, die Emission von Treibhausgasen reduziert und mehr Kohlenstoff im Boden gespeichert“"

Umweltmikrobiologen der Universität Tübingen untersuchen, wie mikrobielle Lebensgemeinschaften die Erzeugung klimaschädlicher Gase verringern können.

Durch das Einbringen von Biokohle in landwirtschaftlich genutzte Böden lässt sich die Zusammensetzung und Aktivität der Bodenmikroorganismen so verändern, dass Emissionen des Treibhausgases Distickstoffmonoxid, auch Lachgas genannt, verringert werden.

Climatefarming - the future of agriculture

Freitag, 27. September 2013

Julia Roberts Joins Chime For Change Catapult Charities ( UK)

Julia Roberts Global Ambassador of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

Julia Roberts Joins Chime For Change Catapult Charities ( UK): "Global Ambassador of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves."

JULIA ROBERTS has joined Beyoncé Knowles and Frida Giannini as Chime For Change's latest Catapult Curator.
The role sees each star choose one philanthropic cause that particularly resonates with them and then select organisations to raise money for with the initiative's crowdfunding partner Roberts was particularly moved by the number of people dying because of harmful cooking smoke, and serves as Global Ambassador of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves read at:

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Freitag, 6. September 2013 Nigeria: Can Bamboo Address Deforestation and Erosion in Nigeria? (Page 1 of 2)

Every year, according to statistics from the Centre for International Forestry Research, Africa loses forest cover equal to the size of Switzerland and Nigeria alone is estimated to lose about 350,000 - 4000,000 ha of its forest reserve annually and this is regarded as one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world.
As the trees across the country vanish, the land dries; the soil erodes and becomes barren leading to low agricultural yield, alarming desert encroachment, desertification and uncontrollable erosion.
Experts at a recent meeting on the state of the nation's forest identified firewood and charcoal as the leading drivers of deforestation but the country lacked alternatives to firewood and charcoal which have become the energy sources for middle class and low income Nigerians especially those in the rural areas.
A lot of propositions have been advanced as options government should consider in addressing the drivers of deforestation and this include the need to articulate policy framework that address the out-dated forest laws in operations in the country, better mechanism for the implementation/enforcement of best forest management practices, reduce firewood and charcoal consumption and forest tenure system for local communities.
However, Mr Badru Ola Muyideen of the forest department of the Federal Ministry of Environment is of the view that the introduction and massive cultivation of bamboo remained Nigeria's best option to reduce deforestation, address desertification as well as cushion the impact of climate change on Nigeria.
According to him, bamboo can serve as firewood and can be burnt as charcoal. "This way we don't have to cut down trees which take forever to grow but we can harvest bamboo yearly and use it as we want."
Bamboo is a common plant which the country is currently not exploiting in the quest to address the mirage of environmental challenges confronting the country.
read at: Nigeria: Can Bamboo Address Deforestation and Erosion in Nigeria? (Page 1 of 2):

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Mittwoch, 15. Mai 2013

Biochar reduces nasty nitrous oxide emissions on farms

Biochar reduces nasty nitrous oxide emissions on farms

read at:  
Blaine Friedlander

Blaine Friedlander/Cornell Chronicle
Cornell scientists have found that biochar mitigates the presence of nitrous oxide in agricultural soils. An array of soils and biochar populates Johannes Lehmann's office desk. Bottled Terra Preta and Hatahara soils, left, join Cornell food and hazelnut biochars in his collection.
In the quest to decrease the world’s greenhouse gases, Cornell scientists have discovered that biochar – a charcoal-like substance – reduces the nemesis nitrous oxide from agricultural soil on average by about 55 percent and stanches emissions into the atmosphere. The research is reported in the new journal from Nature, Scientific Reports, April 25.

“We investigated the mechanics of denitrification, with particular attention to the climate-relevant nitrous oxide by adding biochar to agricultural soils,” says senior author Johannes Lehmann, Cornell professor of soil science. “Biochar consistently reduced nitrous oxide emission in agricultural soils.”

Carbon dioxide has a quiet, but strong partner in climate-warming crime – nitrous oxide. This nasty gas is usually produced on farms from animal manure waste and the use of synthetic fertilizer. In fact, nitrous oxide in agricultural soil has 298 times more global warming potential than carbon dioxide.

Johannes Lehmann, Cornell professor of soil science.
“Hence the importance to reduce emissions,” says Lehmann.

Agriculture in the United States accounted for almost 58 percent of all nitrous oxide emissions from 2003 to 2007, according to World Bank data, and almost 59 percent from 2008 to 2012. Generally, about 60 percent of all global nitrous oxide emissions come from agriculture, and about half of the greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture come from nitrous oxide.

“Despite this large importance of nitrous oxide for greenhouse gas emissions, there are very few strategies to mitigate the emissions in agriculture, compared to carbon sequestration in soils,” says Lehmann.

First author Maria Luz Cayuela, a former Cornell postdoctoral researcher in Lehmann’s lab and now at the Universidad de Murcia, Spain, led the study. The soils and the biochar spanned a wide array of types. Some soils studied were acidic, others neutral; some were sandy, others filled with clay. The researchers examined soils rich in organic carbon, while other soils possessed low carbon amounts.

No matter the soil type or the biochar type the scientists used, a universal truth emerged: the emission of nitrous oxide was always reduced on average by about 55 percent, compared to benign nitrogen gas.

The study, “Biochar and Denitrification in Soils: When, How Much and Why Does Biochar Reduce N2O Emissions,” was also co-authored by researchers Miguel Angel Sanchez-Monedero and Asuncion Roig, Universidad de Murcia; and Cornell technicians Kelly Hanley and Akio Enders

This work was funded by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, European Union Marie Curie Fellowship, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Science Foundation and the Fondation des Fondateurs through the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

Dienstag, 26. Februar 2013

Ithaka-Journal für Terroirwein, Biodiversität und Klimafarming » Blog Archiv » Pflanzenkohle als Baustoff für optimales Raumklima

Ithaka-Journal für Terroirwein, Biodiversität und Klimafarming » Blog Archiv » Pflanzenkohle als Baustoff für optimales Raumklima: "Pflanzenkohle als Baustoff für optimales Raumklima

von Hans-Peter Schmidt Artikel weiterempfehlen

Pflanzenkohle-Lehmputze für den Wohnraum Die Technologie der Gebäudesanierung mit Pflanzenkohle-Lehm-Gemischen, die das Delinat-Institut für Weinkeller entwickelt hat, lässt sich auch auf sonstige Räume wie Lebensmittellager, Ställe, Lagerhallen und nicht zuletzt auch auf Wohnräume übertragen. Denn gerade in Wohn- und Büroräumen hat eine optimale Luftfeuchtigkeit größten Einfluss auf das Wohlbefinden und die Gesundheit der Bewohner. Luftfeuchtigkeit unter 40% führt zum Austrocknen der Schleimhäute, was das Erkältungs-, Asthma- und Allergierisiko erhöht. Luftfeuchtigkeit über 70% führt in geschlossenen Wohnräumen zur erhöhten Belastung mit Schimmelsporen. Bereits eine zwei Zentimeter dicke Schicht eines Pflanzenkohle-Lehm-Putzes kann das Klima eines Wohnraumes merklich verbessern. Im Wallis wurden bereits zwei Häuser im Innenbereich mit Pflanzenkohle-Putzen restauriert. Die ersten Erfahrungen mit dem Wohnkomfort sind äußerst vielversprechend.

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Montag, 25. Februar 2013

Agroforestry Offers Solutions to World Hunger

The Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, recently released new guidelines to promote agroforestry.  It says this often neglected sector of agriculture, that combines forestry with agriculture, is crucial to the livelihoods and food security of millions of people. 

Agroforestry Offers Solutions to World Hunger:

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Donnerstag, 21. Februar 2013

BusinessMirror - Sahel region learning to reap benefits of shade

Sahel region learning to reap benefits of shade

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In Africa’s Sahel region, agroforestry techniques using traditional plantings known as “fertilizer trees” to increase soil fertility, as well as harvesting and grazing regulations, are offering new solutions to both food and human security.

Such approaches were nearly lost in recent decades following devastating droughts in the Sahel. Now they are making a belated but welcome comeback. According to a 2012 US Geological Survey, “regeneration agroforestry” in the Sahel stands at over 5 million hectares of agricultural fields newly covered by trees—and growing.

“Agroforestry is the future of agriculture in the drylands and sub-humid regions,” Chris Reij, a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based think tank, told IPS. “In southern Niger, for instance, farmers have improved millions of hectares of land through regenerating and multiplying valuable trees whose roots already lay beneath their land.”

Details Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 18:46 Written by Joe Hitchon / Inter Press Service read at: BusinessMirror - Sahel region learning to reap benefits of shade:

Freitag, 8. Februar 2013

Printable Version - Planetary Survival in the 21st Century: Confronting Land Degradation, Biodiversity Loss, and Climate Change - Student Pulse

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Ho, Ezra. (2013). "Planetary Survival in the 21st Century: Confronting Land Degradation, Biodiversity Loss, and Climate Change." Student Pulse, 5(01). Retrieved from:

Planetary Survival in the 21st Century: Confronting Land Degradation, Biodiversity Loss, and Climate Change

2013, VOL. 5 NO. 01
“Given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now.”-Daniel Quinn
Everywhere, everyday we are reminded of the planetary crisis. Ice caps melt, forests are decimated, species go extinct and extreme climatic changes threaten the survival of human civilization. We desperately need a new narrative – a compelling vision of sustainability where we get a happily-ever-after ending. But where are we now? In the crazed pursuit of financial and material progress, Gross Domestic Product has grown exponentially. But to be sure, the Gross Depletion of the Planet is also at an all time high. Population growth and increasing resource demands are placing ever more pressure on the Earth system, changing vast ecosystems in an unprecedented display of planetary mastery (UNEP, 2012). Indeed, such is the human prowess that a new geologic era has been coined to reflect the changing times- the anthropocene (Crutzen et al, 2007). Nowhere is this reality more evident than on the surface of the earth- literally. In recent times, the land has decayed. Pressures placed by a growing population, demographic changes and increasing consumption demands are overstraining the land's carrying capacity. From the fossil fuels that provides our cities with electricity, consumer products, mobility to the minerals that constitute our electronics, to our sustenance that fuels our biological metabolism, all come from the land. As land use changes to accommodate such shifting patterns, they cumulatively result in the loss of soil integrity and the health of the land with deleterious impacts on both human communities and natural ecosystems- with their non-human inhabitants. Over the next decade, as efforts are taken to address global environmental changes amidst developmental and demographic shifts, the issue of land use will be pivotal. In this paper, first the drivers then the mechanisms and impacts of land degradation will be assessed, together with current and proposed measures to remedy this tragic state of affairs. While it can barely hope to represent a comprehensive picture of land degradation issues, it is hoped that at least an informative snapshot can be obtained.
In the latter half of the 20th Century, fueled by cheap energy and the exponential leaps in technology, the acceleration of human activity has transformed our relationship with the planet, birthing another neologism- “the great acceleration.” As the human population continues its rapid growth, recently reaching 7 billion and projected to hit 9 billion by 2050 (UNDESA, 2004), demand for natural resources is accelerating, placing more pressures on the integrity of the land. In the last century alone, material extraction from the earth increased from 7 to almost 60 billion tonnes (UNEP, 2012). As a consequence, whole ecosystems are increasingly devastated by extractive activities, mountaintops are blown off, topsoil destroyed, water tables contaminated and vast forests are felled (Sibaud, 2012). In the Amazon, large tracts of protected indigenous lands are being illegally logged to produce wood charcoal, of which 85% is used for pig iron and steel production in car production (Greenpeace International, 2012). Moreover, demographic changes such as the growing middle class in rapidly developing countries are putting more stress on the carrying capacity of the planet. A case in point is meat consumption: from the beginning of the 1970s to the mid 1990s, the amount of meat consumed in developing countries has grown three times as much as it did in the developed countries. And by 2020, developing countries will expand their share of total world meat consumption from 52% currently to 63% (Delgado, 2003; FAO, 2012). The environmental pitfalls of meat production are well-known. Not only does meat production result in the release of more climate-changing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but it also increases demand for animal feedstock, which competes with agricultural crops for human consumption, intensifying agricultural land demands.
Most importantly, all of the above factors come together in a perfect storm that intensifies land degradation as increased demand for natural resources, coupled with the financialization of the commodity markets, have led to massive land grabs, and hence the intensification of land-use in the developing world. As countries prepare for the transition to a Green Economy where biomass replaces fossil fuels as the basis of industrial civilization, a massive land grab has been sparked off in the developing world which houses most of the world's terrestrial and aquatic biomass with dire implications for food security and land rights (ETC Group, 2011). This includes agricultural products like plant oils, fibre crops, algae and of course, food crops. Of special mention are biofuel crops such as soy, sugarcane, palm oil and jatropha , which hold the promise of a low-carbon transport sector (Fargione et al, 2008; Murphy et al, 2011; UNEP, 2012). Indeed, the EU’s renewable fuels target requires that 10% of transport fuels be supplied by renewables by 2020, with the expectation that 80–90% of this target will likely to be met by biofuels. Of the 203 million hectares of land (equivalent to the size of North-western Europe) acquired by corporate and national buyers over the last decade, 78% was set aside from agricultural uses, largely for biofuel production (Anseeuw et al, 2012; Geary, 2012). In Indonesia, where logging and conversion of forests to palm oil plantations are the main causes of deforestation, half of the country's 143 million hectares of tropical rainforest have been degraded (Anseeuw et al, 2012). This development is exacerbated by the deregulation of the commodity futures market. This allowed investors to speculate on the future prices of agricultural products (Knaup et al, 2011). As more money flowing into the market increases the price of such commodities, a vicious cycle develops that incentivizes more speculative activity, and artificially increases demand for biofuel crops (UNCTD, 2011). Worse still is that most of the additional cropland for biofuels production have been shown to come from clearing existing forests (Young, 2009). The end result is that the intensification of such monoculture plantations of biofuel crops will contribute to increasing deforestation. Cumulatively, such anthropogenic drivers create untold pressure on the land, far exceeding its carrying capacity, degrading the land and its ability to nurture life.
Exploring the mechanisms of land degradation, the term refers to the deterioration of the physical, biological and chemical properties of the soil, caused by wind or water-induced erosion. This brings about a consequent reduction in natural vegetation, stripping the land of its life-sustaining cover (Nyssena et al, 2008). While land degradation is the result of a complex interplay between climatic and anthropogenic factors, most of global land degradation today is due to human impact with agriculture being responsible for approximately 80% of global deforestation (Pimentel, 2000; Kissinger et al, 2012). That being said, a whole host of human activities also contribute to land degradation including harvesting of timber products, mining and livestock grazing. The link between land degradation and deforestation is that land cover is lost, inducing a positive feedback mechanism which further inhibits future plant growth (Mölders, 2012). As trees are cleared from an area due to timber harvesting or to create agricultural land, the effects are two-fold. First, the water infiltration ability of the soil is impaired due to the loss of tree roots which create conduits for water to flow through, inhibiting healthy plant growth. Secondly, as canopy and ground cover is lost due to deforestation, raindrop impact, runoff and aeolian entrainment contribute to the dislodging of soil particles, resulting in the erosion of the soil (D’Odoricoa et al, 2012). In particular, topsoil, the nutrient-rich top-most layer of organic material is lost, which takes decades to regenerate. It has been estimated that 1mm of topsoil eroded over 1 hectare could take as long as 20 years to recover (Pimentel, 2000). Moreover, unsustainable agricultural activity as well as the trampling of livestock can also contribute to the erosion of topsoil, degrading the land. For instance, the practice of tilling, overturning the soil as part of agricultural preparation, has been shown to leave the soil unprotected from the elements. Consequently, 80% of agricultural land suffers from modest to severe erosion. Furthermore, it has been estimated that erosion rates are 75 times higher on agricultural ground in comparison to natural forest areas (Pimentel, 2000).
Moreover, the loss of vegetation cover reducing precipitation levels can contribute to desertification. Not only is the water content in the soil reduced, but the amount of water released through evapotranspiration processes are diminished as well. As such, atmospheric humidity in the immediate area is reduced, causing a fall in precipitation levels, and paving the way for further degradation and desertification in arid regions (D’Odoricoa et al, 2012). In one study, air that passed over extensive vegetation over the last few days produced twice as much rainfall than air that passed over little vegetation (Spracklen et al, 2012). Moreover, dust emission from human activity such as livestock grazing, mining or construction can also reduce precipitation over an area, exacerbating land degradation. Because dust particles can act as cloud condensation nuclei, which facilitates the coagulation of water vapor molecules into rain droplets, they play a vital role in the hydrological cycle. However, excessive cloud condensation nuclei in the atmosphere causes formation of cloud condensation nuclei which are too small to precipitate as rain. As such, rainfall is reduced. In fact, empirical evidence shows an inverse relationship between dust levels and precipitation levels in the Sahel (D’Odoricoa et al, 2012). Finally, loss of vegetation leading to desertification can also be induced by the accumulation of salts or other toxic substances in the soil. There are several ways this can take place. Salts from rain or the weathering of rocks can be introduced into the water table. Alternatively, low quality irrigation water coupled with inefficient leaching can cause the accumulation of salts in the water table. The presence of salts (referring to sodium ions) in the ground destroys soil structure by reducing porosity, hence reducing water infiltration rate and inhibiting plant growth (D’Odoricoa et al, 2012). This salinization of the soil is a notable problem with 20% of irrigated lands affected by increasing salt content, leading to their diminishing productivity and contributing to the increasing degradation of the land.
As the effects from land degradation interact with biophysical and human systems, a whole myriad of negative impacts, which are interlinked in complex ways, are felt. A classic example of which is the relationship between climate change and land-use change. In line with recent scientific evidence, anthropogenic emissions of GHG are threatening to destabilize the global climatic system through more variable and extreme weather patterns (IPCC, 2007). As the international community struggles to limit GHG-induced temperature rises that would result in catastrophic impacts on human and natural ecosystems (UNFCCC, 2009), the drivers of land-use change and degradation as outlined above threaten to derail them. On a very basic level, soil and plant biomass sequester about 90% of the carbon in global vegetation (Dale, 1997). Land-use changes like deforestation that disturb forest cover releases this stored carbon, which enhances anthropogenic-induced climate change. The loss of maturing forests and grasslands also foregoes ongoing carbon sequestration as plants grow each year, and this foregone sequestration is the equivalent of additional emissions. In all, GHG emissions from land-use change is estimated to contribute from 10- 30% of global GHG emissions (Barker et al, 2007; IAASTD, 2009; GRAIN, 2011) As pressures on the land grow, so will GHG emissions. Indeed, from 1970 – 2004, GHG emissions from land-use change have increased 40% (Mölders, 2012). In recent years, a prime driver of deforestation has been the conversion of forests to cropland to grow biofuels, particularly in Indonesia and Brazil. While biofuels are potentially a low-carbon energy source, carbon savings depend on how they are produced. Increasingly, it is being discovered that biofuels production take place on converted rainforests and peatlands (Young, 2009). Such developments result in a carbon debt as their production releases more carbon emissions into the atmosphere than what they reduce by displacing fossil fuels (Searchinger et al, 2008; Fargione et al, 2008). For instance, converting lowland tropical rainforest in Indonesia and Malaysia to palm biodiesel would result in a biofuel carbon debt that would take 86 years to repay (Fargione et al, 2008).
Not only does conversions of forest to agricultural cropland affects the climate system, but climate change can destabilize agricultural systems. As GHG emissions accumulate resulting in elevated global temperatures, destabilizing the climate system, extreme weather patterns are predicted to increase in both intensity and frequency (IPCC, 2007). Precipitation patterns shift both in timing and intensity due to changes in evapotranspiration rates, resulting in increased drought stress in major wheat and maize-producing countries like China, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran (Forster et al, 2012). In Sub-Saharan Africa, arid and semi-arid areas are projected to increase by 50% (De Schutter, 2011). On the other extreme end of climatic events, an increase in the intensity of monsoons could result in flood surges which can destroy entire crops, affecting agricultural systems and livelihoods. Moreover, sea level rise coupled with the acidification of the oceans could lead to increased salinization of the soil, reducing agricultural productivity. Finally pests and disease prevalence are also strongly influenced by changes in weather patterns and could contribute to increased crop losses (IAASTD, 2009; FAO, 2011a). By 2080, 600 million additional people could be at risk of hunger from climate change (De Schutter, 2011).
Aside from affecting food security through climate change impacts, the increased demand for land and agricultural crops by financial markets (Anseeuw et al, 2012) is threatening the food security of millions in the developing world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), almost 870 million people were chronically undernourished between the period 2010-2012 (FAO, 2012). This does not need to be so, and as evidence, the 203 million hectares of land acquired between 2000 - 2010 has the potential to feed all the chronically malnourished people globally (Geary, 2012). Furthermore, up to a third of food produced for human consumption ends up wasted due to logistical or bureaucratic complications (Toulmin et al, 2011). Thus, most hunger in the world is due to poverty (De Schutter, 2011), which is exacerbated by higher food prices caused by speculative activity. While 70% of the world's rural population belong to the agricultural economy (Adhikari and Nadella, 2011), most small-scale farmers are net-buyers of food since they do not produce enough food for their families (FAO, 2011b). Due to the linkages between agricultural and energy markets, high and volatile food prices caused by speculative activity are depriving millions of adequate food (FAO, 2011a; FAO, 2011b). And because they cannot afford food, people in the developing world are malnourished. This relationship between poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition creates a vicious poverty trap where people in the developing world are unable to engage in productive activity due to poor health from inadequate nutrition. Moreover, the cycle perpetuates across generations as the impact of malnutrition is even greater on children whose stunted developmental process will effect them for the rest of their adult life (FAO, 2011b). Additionally, poverty also acts as a driver of land degradation as the rural poor often lack the means for sustainable practices such as agricultural knowledge and technology as well as finance.
Finally, land degradation as a result of deforestation also threatens biodiversity. Occupying 30% of the earth's land surface, forests contain more than 80% of terrestrial animal and plant species (Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2011). Not only does biodiversity help regulate the climate system through carbon sequestration, but the systemic interaction of flora and fauna contributes to various ecosystem services that are fundamental to human well-being. Services such as the provision of food, water, medicine and fuel; regulation of earth system processes such as the climate and supporting services like nutrient cycling and soil formation (MEA, 2005). In fact, research has shown that biodiversity loss is as significant to ecosystem health as are other direct global drivers of environmental change such as ozone depletion or elevated CO2 levels (Hooper et al, 2012). However, because of the current drivers of land-use change, such as the increasing demand for biofuels, lush biodiversity-rich forests are being decimated in order to clear land for plantations, which deprives species of their habitat and reduces the integrity of the ecosystem (Gibson et al, 2011; WWF, 2012b). Such loss is particularly detrimental to the rural poor who largely depend on the above ecosystem services to provide for the necessities of life and their livelihoods (MEA, 2005; WWF, 2012a; FAO, 2012). Indonesia, one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, has lost a significant portion of its rainforests and peatlands in the last 10 years as businesses convert forest into biofuel plantations (Miettinen et al, 2011; Fargione et al, 2008; Anseeuw et al, 2012). Since 1985, the island of Sumatra has lost more than half of its forest cover. As a result, there are only about 400 Sumatran tigers and fewer than 2,800 Sumatran elephants left in the wild and should deforestation continue, it is probable that these species will go extinct (WWF, 2012b). Beyond iconic conservation symbols, the loss of biodiversity and the decay of ecosystems caused by land degradation represents a dire threat to the healthy functioning of the earth system.
Thus far, it is clear that land degradation has far-reaching impacts which interact in complex ways that cut across issues ranging from climate change, food security, poverty to biodiversity loss. If we are to successfully address land degradation, it is clear that an integrated approach to these problems is required. Of the many approaches being taken presently to ameliorate rates of land degradation, most fall under market-based solutions. The first of which is forest certification, which attempts to ensure that forests are sustainably managed for the extraction of timber and non-timber forest products. Labels such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Malaysian Timber Certification Council seek to promote sustainable forest practices that aims to minimize human impacts on the ecosystem. In doing so, consumers are informed as to the sustainability of the said product, and by voting with their dollar, they can promote more sustainable businesses practices. Requirements can include measures like reduced-impact logging, which seeks to minimize the impact of logging on the soil and forest ecosystem by regulating the area of logging and the planning of roads and landings. In fact, a landmark study found that forest management practices associated with forest certification significantly benefited biodiversity and ecosystem health (van Kuijk et al, 2009). At the same time, more research is needed to enhance the understanding of species response to managed logging since every forest has different variables. While biodiversity and ecosystems are negatively impacted by logging no matter how sustainably managed it is, we require such ecosystem services for the continual functioning of our society. Barring systemic shifts that allow us to align our consumption patterns with the Earth's carrying capacity, we will have to balance the managed use of such natural resources with conservation strategies. The second approach that is dominant in present discourse is the integration of sustainable land practices with climate change mitigation and conservation efforts. Under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) framework, local communities will receive payments of carbon credits through the government for the sustainable management and conservation of forests as a carbon sink towards climate change mitigation (Thompson et al, 2012). While the idea has been popularized as an excellent approach to integrating natural capital valuation into decision-making, there have been practical obstacles and limitations in translating the framework into practical policies. To begin with, it is highly ironic that market-based solutions are being applied to solve the world's largest market failure. While appearing sound in theory, REDD+ has aggravated land degradation plus resulting in human rights violations. Because most REDD+ proposals take place in developing countries with weak governance institutions and capacity, corruption is often a barrier towards sound enforcement of conservation imperatives and including local communities in sharing the financial benefits (Karsentya and Ongolo, 2012). Moreover, under the UNFCCC framework definition, monoculture plantations growing biofuels qualify as natural forests (Huettner, 2012). Consequently, companies are buying up vast tracts of land for their carbon sequestration potential, in the process side-lining indigenous communities and customary law (Anseeuw et al, 2012; Thompson et al, 2012). In order for REDD+ to constitute an effective measure against land degradation, the rights and customs of indigenous peoples have to be respected while ensuring that governance structures are democratic, robust and transparent (Schroeder, 2010; Thompson et al, 2012; Huettner, 2012).
In contrast to the top-down approaches that have characterized mainstream approaches to combating land degradation, an emerging idea in development circles is to promote locally-controlled forestry. Not only is it based on experienced management, meaning that local communities are able to better conserve the land through accumulated knowledge, but it also paves the path for equitable development as communities are able to benefit from their natural resources. Because they are directly invested in the continual integrity and sustainability of the land, there are significant social, economic and environmental benefits from local management. In Java, Indonesia, community-based forestry contributed to an increase in forest cover by 6 million hectares from 1985-1997 (Macqueen at al, 2012). Building on the importance of local management, improving women's rights in developing countries would also help to promote natural resource management, not to mention food security and developmental goals (FAO, 2011a). Although women constitutes almost half of the agricultural workforce in the developed world, they are often discriminated against because of rigid gender roles. As a result, they have restricted access to agricultural resources and technology, financial services and legal representation. This inequitable situation, if bridged, would allow agricultural output to rise 2.5-4%, reducing the number of malnourished people by 100-150 million people (FAO, 2011a). Moreover, it has also been demonstrated that women make more productive use of resource as the primary care-givers of society, having a greater influence on the education, health and the welfare of the family (Mehra, 1997; Bernasek, 2003). Tapping this largely ignored segment of the population would greatly improve the developmental process of a country. Hence, in combination, promoting the local management of natural resources plus empowering women is an effective strategy in land conservation as well as alleviating poverty.
Lastly, promoting small-scale, agroecological solutions would greatly improve food security, climate resilience and land management. While agriculture has been attributed a significant portion of GHG emissions, the elephant in the room is that it refers to the industrial farming monopolized by large agricultural and chemical corporations (ETC Group, 2011). In contrast to the picture of small-scale ecological farming in developing countries, this impact is largely due to industrial farming practices which rely heavily on fossil fuel-based inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides and long-distance transport. On the other hand, agroecology practices such as agroforestry are based on patterns found in natural systems. In a food forest for instance, a dense arrangement of trees and crops ensure a biodiverse environment where plants, animals and insects support each other. All inputs are recycled as in natural systems, leaving no waste behind. Hence, they are sustainable by design. And because they leverage on natural synergies, such practices are able to achieve a higher net agricultural output compared to industrial farming systems (De Schutter, 2011). Moreover, agricultural diversity also allows for greater resilience against climate change by promoting healthy soil conditions.
In closing, land degradation is a complex environmental issue that involves social, economic and political drivers that cannot be addressed without an integrated approach. Cutting across food security, poverty, climate change and human rights, addressing land degradation and biodiversity loss requires an multidisciplinary approach and multi-stakeholder integration. At a time where the stakes are hundreds of millions of starving people and the long term survival of our planet, we require a new narrative. A vision of small-scale, inclusive and ecologically sound agriculture promises to lift the world out of poverty, inequality and hunger. Now, we only need the courage to stand against the intransigent guardians of the status quo. In the words of anthropologist Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." And so, we must.


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Printable Version - Planetary Survival in the 21st Century: Confronting Land Degradation, Biodiversity Loss, and Climate Change - Student Pulse

Dienstag, 5. Februar 2013

SEZ: Stiftung Entwicklungs- Zusammenarbeit Baden-Württemberg: Veranstaltungen Detail

Climatetalk im Loretto: Öfen für Afrika – Eine Chance für Klima und Boden

Datum / Uhrzeit20.02.13 / 19:00 UhrVeranstaltungsortLoretto Klinik, 72072 Tübingen, Katharinenstraße 10, 4. StockReferentenMarkus Vetter, Prof. Ralf Otterpohl und Jörg Fingas

Den Kreislauf des Hungers durchbrechen - Mit Mikrovergasern gegen den Klimawandel
– Markus Vetter, Prof. Ralf Otterpohl und Jörg Fingas präsentieren Climatefarming

Thema 1: Hunger: Der Teufelskreis von Hunger und Abholzung
am Beispiel Haiti

Marcus Vetter zeigt das Kapitel Haiti aus seinem Grimme Preis nominierten
Film « Hunger » . Holzkohle und Kochholz waren die letzten Ursachen für
Haitis vollkommene Abholzung. Das lokale Klima veränderte sich und durch
den Bodenverlust wird jeder heftige Regen zur Flutkatastrophe. « Ohne
Bodenaufbau wird sich Haiti nie wieder selbständig versorgen können ;
Climatefarming halte ich für einen richtigen Weg hierzu ! »

Thema 2: Boden. Vom Entsorgungsproblem zum fruchtbarsten
Boden der Welt. Pflanzenkohle schließt den Kreislauf

Terra Preta – oft genannt die « Wundererde » aus dem Amazonas ist das
Vorbild für Prof. Otterpohls „ Terra Preta Saniation“ - Ansatz, der am
Institut für Abwasserwirtschaft (TU Hamburg-Harburg) entwickelt wurde.
„Wir machen Kompost statt Klärschlamm und ähnlich wie bei den Terra
Preta Böden Amazoniens wird der Boden zum Kohlenstoffspeicher. ... Die
alten Völker des Amazonas haben es geschafft aus ihren organischen
Abfällen den fruchtbarsten Boden der Welt aufzubauen. Und das sehe ich für
meine Arbeit auch als Vorbild … Ich sehe Climatefarming als den
integrierenden Ansatz, der die Themen Energie, Wasser, Agrikultur und
Bodenaufbau zusammenbringt.

Thema 3: Energie: Wenn das Problem zur Lösung wird:
Pyrolysekocher der Schlüssel für eine gesunde organische

Die Idee klingt nicht nur einfach, sie ist es auch : Mit Mikro-Vergasern, die
Ernteabfälle und Unkraut anstatt Holz verbrennen werden Haushalte in
Westafrika unabhängig von fossilen Brennstoffen und rarem Feuerholz. Die
Abholzung wird reduziert und die Böden erholen sich. Die Öfen, die der
Tübinger entwickelt hat, liefern neben Energie zum Kochen auch
Pflanzenkohle – dem wichtigsten Baustein für Terra Preta.
Pflanzenkohle hat noch einen weiteren Vorteil : sie kann die Versalzung der
Böden rückgängig machen. « Ohne zusätzlichen Dünger konnten wir im
Senegal die Reisernte von 3,5 Tonnen auf 8 Tonnen steigern. »

Datum / Uhrzeit20.02.13 / 19:00 UhrVeranstaltungsortLoretto Klinik, 72072 Tübingen, Katharinenstraße 10, 4. StockReferentenMarkus Vetter, Prof. Ralf Otterpohl und Jörg Fingas

SEZ: Stiftung Entwicklungs- Zusammenarbeit Baden-Württemberg: Veranstaltungen Detail

Mittwoch, 30. Januar 2013

Bounding the role of black carbon in the climate system: A scientific assessment - Bond - Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres - Wiley Online Library

Bounding the role of black carbon in the climate system: A scientific assessment - Bond - Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres - Wiley Online Library: "We estimate that black carbon, with a total climate forcing of +1.1 W m-2, is the second most important human emission in terms of its climate-forcing in the present-day atmosphere; "

'via Blog this'

NASA data registers strong deforestation signals in Sumatra, Borneo, Brazil, Gabon

NASA data registers strong deforestation signals in Sumatra, Borneo, Brazil, Gabon
January 29, 2013

GloF-DAS alerts in Sumatra

NASA satellites picked up signals of extensive potential deforestation in Sumatra, Borneo, Central Africa, the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon, the Chocó in Colombia and Ecuador, and the Chaco region of Paraguay between October 1 and December 31, 2012, according to the latest update on's Global Forest Disturbance Alert System (GloF-DAS).

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 NASA data registers strong deforestation signals in Sumatra, Borneo, Brazil, Gabon: "

Dienstag, 29. Januar 2013

A biochar cookstove.
Cookstoves that can produce biochar, like the one pictured above in western Kenya, can be a key tool in fighting respiratory disease and boosting agricultural production.
Photograph courtesy ACON

Stacey Schultz
Published January 29, 2013

Like many of her neighbors in Amubri, an indigenous community at the southern tip of Costa Rica, Gloria Torress Buitrago relied for years on afogón for cooking. The traditional open-fire stove is common in Amubri (map), and so are the dire health effects. "It was hard to look around and just breathe without feeling the smoke burning the eyes or throat," Buitrago said. One cousin suffered from asthma, and everyone in her family was constantly tearing up from the wood fire's smoke.
Buitrago was just one of 3 billion people worldwide who rely on such open-fire cookstoves. A recent global health study found that the fumes from those stoves was the largest environmental health threat in the world today, killing 3.5 million people a year—more deaths than caused by malaria and HIV/AIDS combined. (See related blog post: "Cookstove Smoke Is 'Largest Environmental Threat,' Global Health Study Finds.") Cookstoves that burn cleaner can help fight this epidemic, but they can do even more than that when configured to produce biochar, a dark, fine-grained residue that can become a prized asset for rural communities.

Freitag, 25. Januar 2013

Ithaka-Journal für Terroirwein, Biodiversität und Klimafarming » Blog Archiv » 55 Anwendungen von Pflanzenkohle

55 Anwendungen von Pflanzenkohle

von Hans-Peter Schmidt
Längst ist die Anwendung von Pflanzenkohle nicht mehr nur auf die Landwirtschaft beschränkt. In immer neuen Bereichen spielt der aus Pflanzen gewonnene Rohstoff seine vielfältigen positiven Eigenschaften aus. Überall, wo Pflanzenkohle auch in der Industrie gezielt eingesetzt wird, kann der Kohlenstoff, der aus der Atmosphäre in Form von CO2 entzogen wurde, langfristig gespeichert werden oder ersetzt zumindest fossile Kohlenstoffquellen.
Pflanzenkohle ist viel zu wertvoll und teuer, als dass es sich ein Bauern leisten könnte, 10 Tonnen und mehr pro Hektar einfach über seinen Acker zu streuen. Bei durchschnittlichen Reingewinnen von 1000 Euro pro Hektar müssten die 8000 Euro für den Kauf und die Einbringung der Pflanzenkohle über einige Jahrzehnte abgeschrieben werden. Da würden auch CO2-Zertifikate, auf die Praxisfremde gern schielen, nicht viel helfen.

Lohnt es sich, Pflanzenkohle im Acker zu verscharren?

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Ithaka-Journal für Terroirwein, Biodiversität und Klimafarming » Blog Archiv » 55 Anwendungen von Pflanzenkohle

Mittwoch, 9. Januar 2013

Bessere Böden: Schwarzer Schatz - Wissen - Tagesspiegel

Bessere BödenSchwarzer Schatz

08.01.2013 17:30 Uhrvon 
Ideal für Plantagen. Typischer Terra-preta-Boden in Brasilien. Er entstand aus Holzkohle, Dung und Kompost. Foto: Marc Steinmetz / VISUM
Ideal für Plantagen. Typischer Terra-preta-Boden in Brasilien. Er entstand aus Holzkohle, Dung und Kompost. - FOTO: MARC STEINMETZ / VISUM
Vorbild Regenwald: In einem speziellen Reaktor verwandeln Chemiker bei 800 Grad Pflanzenabfall zu „Biokohle“. Sie macht Böden fruchtbarer und bindet langfristig Kohlenstoff. Das nützt auch dem Klima.
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Tiefschwarz und voller Nährstoffe, so sieht der Boden auf etwa einem Zehntel des Amazonasgebiets aus. Die Pflanzen wachsen dort viel besser als auf den übrigen Flächen, die hell und nährstoffarm sind. Erst vor wenigen Jahren konnten Forscher den Ursprung der „terra preta“ genannten schwarzen Böden aufklären. Sie gehen auf bis zu 3000 Jahre alte Abfälle zurück, die Ureinwohner an ihren Siedlungen hinterließen.
Die chemischen Vorgänge, die damals eher zufällig zu fruchtbaren Böden führten, wollen Wissenschaftler jetzt gezielt einsetzen, um aus nährstoffarmem Bioabfall wie Heckenschnitt und Reisspreu einen natürlichen Dünger herzustellen.

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Bessere Böden: Schwarzer Schatz - Wissen - Tagesspiegel

An ancient filtration material removes pesticides from drinking water | News | Engineering for Change

An ancient filtration material removes pesticides from drinking water
Filed under: WaterAgriculture
Josh Kearns works with Thai farmers to build a simple gasifier. Photo courtesy of Josh Kearns
Charcoal may have been a part of water treatment for at least 4000 years, but can it remove modern synthetic pesticides from drinking water? Farmers in northern in Thailand, concerned about agricultural runnoff, put the question to Josh Kearns, an environmental engineering doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado in Boulder and the science director at Aqueous Solutions, a non-profit water, sanitation and hygiene development organization.
“Farmers introduced me to the ancient tradition of using charcoal for water filtration and asked me, 'will it work to remove pesticides?' I didn't know the answer, and searching the scientific literature revealed that, in fact, no one knows the answer,” Kearns told E4C.

Donnerstag, 3. Januar 2013

Mit Sauerkrautsaft das Klima retten - Bio - Agrarheute - 1

Mit Sauerkrautsaft das Klima retten
Berlin/St. Gallen - Für seine erfolgreichen Versuche den Abbauprozess in Kuhmist mittels Sauerkrautsaft zu stoppen, gewann der Bio-Landwirt und Nachwuchsforscher Thomas Rippel den Falling Walls Award.

Biolandwirt und Nachwuchswissenschaftler Thomas Rippel (re.) mit zwei weiteren Gewinnern des Nachwuchsforscherpreises Falling Walls: Mai-Ti Nguyen-Kim und Quirin Kainz (li.)
© Falling Walls
Rinderhaltung ist im Demeter-Anbau vorgeschrieben, ihr Dung wird unter anderem für die Herstellung von Kompost genutzt. Da der Kuhmist jedoch oft monatelang aufbewahrt werden muss, da er nur zu bestimmten Jahreszeiten auf die Felder ausgbracht werden darf, geht durch die langen Lagerzeiten ein großer Teil der wertvollen Inhaltsstoffe verloren, die dann als Ammoniak-Gase in die Umwelt freigesetzt werden.
Milchsäurebakterien und Kohle stoppen den Verrottungsprozess im Mist

read at Mit Sauerkrautsaft das Klima retten - Bio - Agrarheute - 1

Mit Sauerkrautsaft das Klima retten - Bio - Agrarheute - 1

Mit Sauerkrautsaft das Klima retten
Berlin/St. Gallen - Für seine erfolgreichen Versuche den Abbauprozess in Kuhmist mittels Sauerkrautsaft zu stoppen, gewann der Bio-Landwirt und Nachwuchsforscher Thomas Rippel den Falling Walls Award.

Biolandwirt und Nachwuchswissenschaftler Thomas Rippel (re.) mit zwei weiteren Gewinnern des Nachwuchsforscherpreises Falling Walls: Mai-Ti Nguyen-Kim und Quirin Kainz (li.)
© Falling Walls
Rinderhaltung ist im Demeter-Anbau vorgeschrieben, ihr Dung wird unter anderem für die Herstellung von Kompost genutzt. Da der Kuhmist jedoch oft monatelang aufbewahrt werden muss, da er nur zu bestimmten Jahreszeiten auf die Felder ausgbracht werden darf, geht durch die langen Lagerzeiten ein großer Teil der wertvollen Inhaltsstoffe verloren, die dann als Ammoniak-Gase in die Umwelt freigesetzt werden.
Milchsäurebakterien und Kohle stoppen den Verrottungsprozess im Mist

read at Mit Sauerkrautsaft das Klima retten - Bio - Agrarheute - 1

Biochar, terrapreta - Google News

soil carbon or biochar - Google News

"Biochartechnologies" via Joerg