Biochar helps fertilize soil, contain carbon

What is biochar and how can it help reduce my carbon footprint?

— William Jarvis, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Biochar is a naturally occurring, fine-grained, highly porous form of charcoal derived from the process of baking biomass — and it’s been associated with fertile soils for some 2,000 years. “Biochar is found in soils around the world as a result of vegetation fires and historic soil management practices,” reports the International Biochar Initiative, a trade group representing the world’s burgeoning biochar industry. “Intensive study of biochar-rich dark earths in the Amazon has led to a wider appreciation of biochar’s unique properties as a soil enhancer.”

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