Written by E. Philip Small on January 31, 2011
The idea of using biochar to enhance urban soils came on strong last week at the Sustainable Sites Symposium in Chicago. The quality of a landscape depends largely on the quality of its soils. Root invigoration research indicates a tree given a more productive enviroment doesn’t need as many roots to thrive. This can have huge implications for urban forestry. Biochar can help support a larger and more vigorous urban canopy. However biochar effects are complex, affected by source, pyrolysis process, and site dynamics. There is little research to support urban use of biochar, but the value of potential soil health improvements assures eventual study. Symposium attendee Christine Esposito reports that the City of Chicago is receptive to making sites available to study biochar in urban soils. I am thinking Lopa Brunjes could use this story to good effect in her February biochar presentation to TED.