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Biochar: the sustainable response to climate change

Trifinio, November 24th, 2016 -  Biochar is a charcoal based on biomass that can be used as soil supplement. Our team in Trifinio identified biochar as a viable option to improve the conditions under which coffee develops.    

As a result of climate change, coffee production is facing a variety of challenges.

One of these is the efficient management of soil. In response, we started to test the use of biochar. Combined with traditional substrates, such as loamy soil, biochar can be added as complementary filling of polybags.  

There are promising studies that point out positive effects of biochar, such as the improvement of soil structure and moisture retention. Also, it enhances the ability of the coffee plant to absorb more nutrients. Biochar can increase the reproduction of soil organisms, like fungi and microorganisms. This practice has the potential to support both, adaptation to climate change and its mitigation. The improvement of structure and moisture retention of soil allows easier adaptation, as it supports the coffee plant in getting more resilient against high temperatures and drought. On the other hand, using biochar as soil supplement effects climate mitigation, as additional carbon can be sequestered.

Following our vision of sustainable coffee production, we are currently evaluating data about the effects of biochar. An evaluation process has been initiated, where coffee farmers review the utility of this adaptation practice, in order to ensure more reliable information based on long term analyses.

We consider biochar to play an important role in sustainable coffee production, and recommend having a look into this adaptation option. c&c will soon update the toolbox with further information about biochar.

 

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