Research Seeks to Safeguard Soil While Producing Energy from Biomass

Iowa State University - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
<p>AMES, Iowa — Soil scientists believe one of the reasons that former prairie soils are so productive is because of the fires that raged through the grasslands over many millennia.</p><p>“It’s a legacy of perhaps 10,000 years of prairie fires. Every time a fire went through, a small fraction of that above-ground biomass was turned into char. Over time this char built up in the soils because it is very stable,” said David Laird, professor of agronomy at Iowa State University.</p><p>Char is a general term for charcoal-like materials made by heating biomass such as grass, corn stocks or wood. Laird said it’s called charcoal when burned to provide heat for a barbecue, and called biochar when added to the soil.</p><p><a href="http://www.ag.iastate.edu/news/releases/990/">Read More</a></p>

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