As the previous post here showed, Organic N, then, is different. It just sits there in the store, alive with micro-organisms and giving some (but very low losses) to the soil atmosphere and groundwater. However, it is different in a staggeringly complex and important way. When conditions favour both plant and fungi, the mycorrhizae feed at one end of their hyphae on the organic matter and the other end of each hypha either crosses the root hair wall into the plant body, or wraps round the root hair (much like the placenta of a mammal). This is a closed conduit!Not only is this why natural ecosystems do not leak nutrients and pollute the ground water, they also feed the plant with complex molecules, already some way down the route for forming cellulose and amino acids – so accelerating growth. Even more staggering, these mycorrhizae can suck nutrients out of some plants (weeds?) and transfer then to others (crops?).
There is enough urban waste in the world to supply enough nutrients to feed the world – without manufacturing fertilisers. (But we do actually need both.)
See the next blog in this series for more on profitable, eco-mimic fertiliser mechanisms and also “Survival” by bill Butterworth, published on Amazon.
The soil is a great collector or “sink” of Carbon dioxide. Hoiw do we manage this? Could we use CL:AIRE to do it better?
According to the World Resources Institute, “Stopping deforestation, restoring forests and improving forestry practices could remove 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually—the same as taking 1.5 billion cars off the road.” Now, World Bank figures on global waste production show that there is somewhere about 1.5 billion tonnes pa of MSW (Municipal Solid Waste). About half of that would be Carbon which, as Carbon dioxide, would be around 1.4 billion tonnes. Industrial waste production globally could easily double that, probably more. If that waste was composted, instead of burned or land-filled, it would not only lock up the Carbon, it could be used to fertilise the tree and crop growth. It would also save wasting at least 21,000 kW hours on producing every one of the 185 million tonnes (FAO figures) of Nitrogen nutrient in the fertilisers we manufacture every year. (Yes, that is 385,000,000,000 kWh – at least!)
Only farmers and foresters have the skills and scale to do these things. Better respect and care for them.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 28 November 17
Jet contrails do produce “global dimming” which reduces global warming but, in the process, produce enormous amounts of CO2. That can be removed in enormous quantities actually quite easily.
In the 24 June issue of New Scientist, Ed Hawkins, University of Reading, UK, and Alan Robock, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, both are quoted as observing that we really do need, urgently, to invent a way to remove Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on a huge scale.
The classic way of solving a problem is to find a mirror image problem and put the two together. Link farming (globally we need more food) and urban waste production (as global population and wealth rise, we get more unban waste) in the right way and that could deliver the invention. Well, we already have it and it has been done and on a scale that could be applied globally.
When Vermuyden drained the fens, it created some of the most fertile soils in the world. Some were more than 10 m deep. This cam be mimicked using composted urban wastes.
The UN has a target of raising the organic Carbon content of soils by 4 parts per thousand in order to offset atmospheric Carbon dioxide growth and global warming.
In a short report in “The Auger” (one of the journals of the British Society of Soil Science) the work of Johnson A E, et al. in The European Journal of Soil Science concluding that, using crop production with mineral fertilisers and Nitrogen from legumes, such a target probably could not be achieved.
Farming is the fundamental key to removing Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and giving back our Oxygen.
A UK-based development programme has shown that a wide range of urban and agricultural wastes can be recycled as fertilisers, to the exclusion of manufactured mineral fertilisers, to produce sustainable, high-yielding agriculture and increase bio-diversity and populations. The programme has shown how that technology can be used to develop sustainable worldwide agriculture and dramatically reduce irrigation requirements including in arid and desert soils. This, in turn, closes the loop on recycling potentially significant amounts of global Carbon dioxide by changing the hydrological cycle, and increasing the global soil Carbon sink and releasing Oxygen back to atmosphere. Click here.
According to UN sponsored research, I tonne of N nutrient, made in a modern, efficient USA fertiliser factory, typically takes 21,000 (yes, twenty one thousand) kWh to manufacture and deliver to farm. Yet, we lose around half to groundwater with rain or irrigation. This will dramatically affect how we farm. Part of the answer is to recycle waste to farm land. How to do this safely and how doing this can also reduce irrigation need by up to 90 % is detailed in a referenced work on sustainable agriculture. All these and how the global population will reach crisis, and when, can be downloaded for free on the Sunday 12 Feb. Search Survival” by Bill Butterworth Amazon.