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Exploring Biochar in the conservation economy with Mikro-Tek and Hawk Feather Farm .

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Wahkohtowin Development is always seeking new and innovative ways to make forest stewardship truly sustainable. In this article we report on trying out a biochar burner exploring solutions in forest management.


Biochar burner pictured at Hawk Feather Farms. Flames billow from the top of a circular above ground steel pit used for making BioChar.
(Photo/Andrew Orton)

.....When added to soil, the activated biochar can provide the plants in the soil with extra nutrients and water, increasing survival and growth....



On March 28th, 2023 Wahkohtowin headed to Timmins and together with Mikro-Tek staff and Hawk Feather Farms we collaborated on our first trial of creating biochar using the Wilson Biochar "Ring of Fire" Kiln.

Biochar is a type of charcoal that is created by pyrolysis (temperature decomposition of organic material in the absence of oxygen). The kiln works by burning wood fiber (logs, sticks, branches etc.) from the top-down with high heat and low oxygen for several hours.



The wood fiber is then quenched with water which leaves un-activated biochar. To activate the biochar, it is mixed with fertilizer, manure, compost or added to soil to allow natural activation. During activation, the porous quality of biochar allows microorganisms like mycorrhizal fungi to enter the cell walls of the charcoal. When added to soil, the activated biochar can provide the plants in the soil with extra nutrients and water, increasing survival and growth. Biochar also increases water retention in the soil and helps reduce drought conditions. Any landscape, farm, garden or flower bed can benefit from adding activated biochar to the soil. The benefits do not just end there.


Biochar also helps trap carbon in its solid state and ensure it remains in the soil for many years. One ton of biochar is equivalent to three tons of CO2 sequestered. With the current carbon crisis, Wahkohtowin is seeking new opportunities to use biochar to increase yield in wood fiber and help sequester more carbon on the land. Stay tuned as we work towards a greener future by exploring carbon offset projects with our Guardians Program and owner communities (Brunswick House First Nation, Missanabie Cree First Nation and Chapleau Cree First Nation).


To learn more about the work that Wakohtowin is doing to move the conversation forward with Indigenous participation in the Carbon sector click here: https://www.wahkohtowin.com/carbon-management


Author: Andrew Orton -

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