It includes extensive information, links, as well as a fun, kinesthetic educational experiment that demonstrates the long term benefits of the use of charcoal for both soil and plant health.
This project encompasses a variety of curriculum areas including global warming, abrupt climate change, the carbon cycle, the “biochar” concept and the need for the development of new sustainable technologies and research. We hope that it will lead to an interest in research and development at a grass roots level and trigger a global movement towards environmental awareness and sustainability.
Of these 6 pots, 3 will be control samples (seed and local soil) and the other 3 will contain a quantity of analyzed, temperature and biomass specific charcoal, as well as local soil.
These plants will be maintained and observed, as they develop, by the students who will then submit their results to this website. The experiment will be accompanied by resource manuals for the educator and the participants as well as various materials, links and ideas for additional educational activities related to the project.
Besides providing facilities for the submission of the experiment results, this website will provide links to a variety of associated research groups and websites, and include a page where schools and participants can view their results and those of participating “researchers” around the globe.
Background on charcoal in soil
The motivation for using charcoal in agriculture for both soil amendment and carbon sequestration follows the discovery in the Amazon of large areas of “Terra Preta” or Dark Earth, the most fertile soil man has ever made. It was shown that these soils contain charcoal many times over that of the surrounding areas, and explained the improved quality of vegetation and soil fertility on Terra Preta.
The use of charcoal is raising interest in the international research community and at the beginning of 2007, the newly found group IAI (International Agrichar Initiative) held the first ever conference in Australia.
The SAFFE company recently sent research grade charcoal out to ten of the top universities in the world to start a unified research project promoting the most sustainable and beneficial form of carbon sequestration available on the planet. The Charcoalab Project is a continuation of this effort, of which a participation of children from all over the world is anticipated.