“Maintaining soil fertility is fundamental for improving food security and reducing poverty.”

United Nations Environment

United Nations Environment recently completed a 3 year study on the impact of biochar on soil sustainability. The motivating factor behind the study was to find a way to reverse land degradation.

Land degradation affects about 24% of global land area, and the problem is growing: 24 billion tons of fertile soil and 12 million hectares of productive land are lost each year. Globally, 1.5 billion people live on degraded lands and the world’s population is growing, expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. Feeding this growing population is a major challenge, particularly as climate change increases rainfall variability and incidence of climatic extremes such as drought. In addition, productive land area is being lost to urban expansion, transport infrastructure and mining.

The study results provide a thorough endorsement of biochar.

“The project has demonstrated that nature-friendly solutions have multiple benefits for communities. From improving the productivity of soil to achieve higher yields, to helping manage waste and increasing carbon sequestration capacity – the advantages are clear. It’s now time to think about how to upscale the findings of the project to reach even more farmers globally”.

Warm Heart’s Biochar Project

Warm Heart has also been conducting our own biochar study, but from a slightly different perspective that adds another dimension to the benefits of biochar.

While recognizing the vast benefits of biochar’s ability to rebuild soils, Warm Heart’s focus has been on addressing the air pollution problem when farmers burn their crop residue after harvest.

Our “Stop the Smoke” project began with designing affordable ovens for farmers to use to turn their crop waste into biochar, eliminating open field burning.

Next, we began training farmers to build and to use the simple ovens, and how to use the biochar they created to help improve their land. Our findings are the same as the UN Environment study:

Biochar can help us to achieve a sustainable global future and reduce the impact of climate change.

We share the goal of the UN study to “reach even more farmers globally”. In Thailand we are setting up sustainable social enterprises with local farmers to stop the smoke by turning it into a valuable product that will improve their land.

Our program has expanded to Malawi, Africa, where over 1,000 farmers have been trained and are are no longer open field burning crop residues. Instead, they are turning their crop waste into biochar, improving their air quality and enriching their soils, improving their crops, and utilizing the many benefits of biochar.