The development of biochar as a soil amendment so improve water retention, amend soil pH and biological imbalances, improve fertility and potentially to sequester carbon, is at a very early stage. Consequently there are no generally agreed definitions, standards or best practices for its application in any of its potential fields of service, nor are there any universal measures of expected outcomes or results which can vary widely depending on how the biochar is produced, how it is applied and the kinds of soil, climate and land management regimes in which it is used.
There’s a lot of work being done in a number of areas and a variety of organisations which are suggesting potential standards and best practises but for the moment they are all either in development or voluntary. In essence the situation is currently buyer beware and home producer be careful.
This part of AllBlackEarth exists to collect and discuss the development of policy, regulation and standards that apply to biochar and its use in all areas.
For more information you might want to start here for New Zealand updates and at IBI for more international and advanced discussions. IBI also have a NZ biochar policy page. Another perspective on biochar policy issues can be found on the Biochar-policy discussion forum here:
Feel free to add comments or links to relevant documents that will help policy makers, regulators and interested parties to come to reasonable, effective policies that enable users to feel confident that they have good products of acceptable standards that they can use effectively in their own landscapes.
Dr Pia Piroschka Otte is visiting NZ (again) and will be based in Otago University for about one month from 22 November. She has kindly provided a copy of a new research publication which can be shared upon request… Abstract … Continue reading
I’ve been following the Waikato Regional Council process on improving water quality & nutrient management which will lead to changes in how farming is carried out in the region. You can find earlier posts on this under the “Waikato” tag. … Continue reading
The email below has been shared with 13 folk who have expressed interest in participating in an interim committee, to help establish a NZ biochar organisation. This process was previously notified on 22 July by email to all NZ members … Continue reading
This new report is a bit of a disappointment if you are looking for any focus on biochar or soil carbon but they did at least try to include something… (but only in the supporting technical report!) Pg.65: “Finally, biochar … Continue reading
This was 5th December (aligned with past King of Thailand’s birthday) so we missed celebrating it here at ABE… & in NZ… and the world generally! After watching the video below, I can see that the worlds disconnection with soil … Continue reading
The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change? Trees Between now and 2050, forests are one of our “most promising” geo-engineering tools. …But in a new report, Oxford University researchers say that our best hopes might not be so complex. In fact, … Continue reading
Royal Society of New Zealand Transition to a low-carbon economy for New Zealand launch Biochar could and should have a role in this initiative. How about heading for the nearest launch and wave the black soil flag. Why not a … Continue reading
Is Agribusiness a ‘stranded asset’ class? Craig Sams comes up with some interesting numbers on carbon farming potential. The article has a Europe focus but should be relevant to NZ as well… NZ support for ‘4 per 1000’ (?) NZ … Continue reading
The NZ Emissions Trading Scheme has been in operation since 2008 to mixed reviews. The government’s view seems to be generally positive, it having met our technical obligations to date. Much of the business and farming community probably support the … Continue reading
Healthy Ground, Healthy Atmosphere: Recarbonizing the Earth’s Soils Nice article – a ‘must read’ if you are into soils. And NZ is a partner in 4 per 1000. This is strange based, on our current farming practices. So I wonder what … Continue reading