Biochar is a climate change solution
As plants grow, they remove carbon from the atmosphere. As plant matter decomposes, carbon cycles back into the atmosphere. If, however, plant-based materials are instead pyrolised—if they are heated in the absence of oxygen—then the carbon is instead transformed into a stable form: Biochar. Biochar strongly resists the decomposition processes that re-cycle carbon back into the atmosphere.
If long-term carbon sequestration were biochar's only benefit, then the urgency to mitigate climate change would be, in itself, sufficient reason to make as much biochar as possible.
Biochar has the potential to heal our atmosphere through long-term carbon sequestration, to heal our water through nutrient filtration, and to heal our soil by enhancing the habit of soil life--and more. Slow Farm is on the way to developing a biochar-centred social enterprise for ecological and social outcomes and livelihoods.
Properties of biochar
Biochar is a durable form of carbon that changes very little in the presence of chemical and biological activity (recalcitrance). Ages for black carbon in some grassland soils have been reliably pegged to > 7,000 years in the US Midwest, and > 12,000 years in Russia.
Biochar's microscopic pore structure provides immense internal surface area and optimum habitat for soil microbiota. This porosity makes biochar an ideal amendment for increasing soil aeration and water retention.
Nutrient exchange capacity
High cation exchange capacity gives biochar superior adsorption qualities and the ability to bind and retain ionic nutrients. Soil microbiota increases the availability of these nutrients for plant roots.