Heat waves, droughts, barren fields. The looming climate change and land degradation through overuse may soon lead to problems in the global food supply. Is there a way out of this impasse? A special Earth, „Terra Preta“ called, could be one of the solutions. Prof. Bruno Glaser, of the Martin-Luther-University Halle believes in the great potential: „The Terra Preta great potential for combating climate change and on the other, of course, to improve soil fertility and thus to safeguard income and, ultimately, for food security for the world’s population. “
At the Institute of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University Hall Bruno Glaser has been researching about how the crop yields could be increased despite climate change. In focus: a here already used mysterious Earth from South America, the Terra Preta. But what it’s all about?
The discovery of black earth: Already in the 1960s, researchers encounter in the plains of the Amazon for the first time in a strange dark strata. Thirty years later, begins Bruno Glaser, deal locally with the enigmatic soil, reminiscent at first glance to peat. Glaser is surprising: such nutrient-rich soil, he had never seen in these latitudes, and the dark color of the soil irritates him, because here the ground is usually much brighter. He said: „This was a big surprise, so keep a black soil in your hand, where we find only yellow or red soils Actually such soils should not happen here, because the humus layers are rapidly degraded..“
But Glaser finds many such soils! They hold more surprises. The mysterious Amazonian soil is two to three thousand years old. And he was not created by nature! Glaser and his team discover some surprising: In the mysterious earth kitchen waste are like fish bones and bone, human and animal excreta, vegetable waste and Verkohlungsrückstände so please, charcoal remains of the fires of the natives.
The Mystery of the Black Earth: The charcoal production left overs act as a sponge, which serves primarily as a moisture retainer, but also offers plenty of space and microorganisms in the soil keeps them stable. But the recipe of this power-fertilizer operates today? The researchers sought to find out more and have developed their own „Terra Preta“. They blended herbal and organic waste with coal and compost mixture. Then they plowed it under in normal soil.
That the quality and the nutritional value of the vaccinated with Terra Preta soils is really better than it has been shown impressively put well in the black earth four times the amount of Co2 and a significantly higher humus content than in soils that had to do without Terra Preta. But the plants are growing in really better? For the grown with and without Terra Preta zucchinis can be seen although the plant is growing well, how dry the soil is fertilized with compost classic. Quite different from the Terra Preta soil, grow not only on the much larger zucchinis, but the ground is still wet here also.
Also in the gardening colonies wants to use the old new world wonders. Annually there are over 2000 cubic meters of vegetable waste. Much of it must be disposed expensive. The plan them is simple but effective: from the numerous remains of plants and the legacies of visitors coming from the plumbing system should have its own black soil produced. Also required for this coal plant will be obtained from the woody plant residues. Namely using a special furnace. Who is able to transform plant residues with extremely low CO2 emissions in coal plants.
Coal plants as climate saviors: The low Co2 emissions is perfectly acceptable, because through the use of coal plants in the Terra Preta elsewhere is much Co2 emissions avoided. And quite naturally: plant the atmosphere beyond the greenhouse gas CO2. Die from it, in this normal rotting large parts of previously stored CO2 will be released again. By the special process for combustion plants coal which is avoided, however, the CO2 remains in the coal, is permanently integrated into the floor and ensures there again for a healthy plant growth.
Scientists see even more benefits: „We help the environment by reducing greenhouse gases such as CO2 and we can reduce this technology on the one hand, the purchase of compost and save money there, and. reduced to the other side of the disposal of waste and also plant again save costs. “
Terra Preta as a beacon of hope: It remains to be seen in the coming years if the project actually works the way it is, the scientists hope. The hope is there anyway that „Terra Preta“, created thousands of years ago this super-fertilizer, could make an important contribution in the future for the world’s food.