Here Darryl advocates plantation forests with regular planting and harvesting of trees after their vegetative growth phase, around 25 years in his example. The harvested material would then be made into biochar and amended into these forest soils to increase soil carbon and growth rates of subsequent plantings.
On one hand this sounds like rotational or holistic grazing where fields are divided and livestock intensively grazes (fells) and manures (biochars) the soil, and is then moved on. Thereby allowing enough time between grazing for fields to recover, and for plants to benefit from the manures and spend more time in the vegetative growth phase sequestering more carbon.
Only, this is basically clear felling whereas rotational grazing is more like forest thinning if I understand it correctly. If only we still had dinosaurs to thin and manage our forests for us, or alternatively robots that were economically viable.
One issue I see with the clear felling apart from the ecological, diversity and hydrological problems it creates – is the subsequent seedling growth stage where you aren’t maximising canopy area in order to maximise photosynthesis and carbon sequestration.
One solution may be thinning and forest management, and he does mention thinning but never delves into the details.
That brings me to one of the issues he mentions about the cost of making biochar commercially and that made me think about my field Terra Preta interpretation of how the Amazonians might have made it buried in soil, but again that’s clear felling, and probably wouldn’t pass the EPA…
I also wondered what a biochar retort might look like in place around a standing tree… just for fun.
I also wonder if something similar can this be done as a polyculture or as or in combination with a food forest at scale while increase ecosystem diversity and at the same time sequestering carbon through management.
But, no doubt “scale” and “performance” is the issue, and commercially it comes down to what is “economically viable” under the “carbon market” rules and can be done today.
His comment on subsoil carbon is interesting: “It’s more expensive to monitor it and measure it, than it’s worth.”