JMG and I were both too optimistic. We both thought charcoal agriculture was ready to play a limited but real role in controlling global warming. Burn some high carbon biomass, turning it into charcoal that will stay stable for thousands of years; add it to soil, which builds tilth and structure; you have just sequestered some carbon and improved agriculture at the same time. We know it can be done. Pre-Columbian Indians covered much of Brazil with terra preta (black earth) built up through "slash-and-char" agriculture over thousands of years. Terra preta is not just dead, well-structured soil. It hosts …
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