Biochar is a substance invented centuries ago
and now recently rediscovered.
Here we just consider its 'fertilising' properties but it will certainly play a major part in climate warming mitigation!
Biochar is a form of charcoal and can be made small-scale in steel containers with minimal smoke pollution.
Trials are underway in several African countries as well as other developing countries.
Here is an extract from Kenya:
The Biochar trial started by placing great emphasis on local farmers to solve the rapid declining soil fertility in their own capacity and help address the hunger disaster in the region since the decline is largely caused by continuous practice of the same traditional farming system in every planting season. More pressure for decline is further generated by increased human population, global climate change and increasing costs of organic fertilizers. It is encouraging that farmers have taken a step and are actively involved in the biochar trials and have evaluated the Biochar soil management productivity. This has encouraged a holistic review of constraints in Biochar application soil management by including farmers opinions. In this regard, farmers are directly involved in soil management practices by monitoring and evaluating Biochar farm trials-scoring and thereafter rank Biochar’s performance using their own criteria.
This below was received on 15.12.09. from Kenya:
I've learnt that we can make good char from water hyacinth which is a problem for us here, covering the lakeshore. I hope once we would finish to make the new kilns for making char, we are going to make use of this water hycin without bothering about the question of deforestation from the government. Peter.
More can be found at
A fuller explanation of Biochar is found at:
with the international website at
If you want to follow Biochar progress there are several Yahoo groups such as
with the latest ideas, news, etc.
One of the best for finding your away around this complex topic is at