The state of Florida has been grappling with environmental issues for decades, with two of the most pressing being red tide and citrus greening. However, there is a potential solution to these problems that lies in the use of biochar, a form of charcoal that is created by burning organic materials like wood and agricultural waste in a low-oxygen environment.
Biochar has been gaining attention in recent years as a tool for improving soil health and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, it also has potential applications in cleaning and filtering water, which could be beneficial in reducing the severity and frequency of red tide blooms.
Red tide occurs when large concentrations of harmful algae bloom in the water, producing toxins that can kill marine life and make people sick. Biochar has been shown to absorb these toxins, which could help mitigate the effects of red tide and improve water quality in affected areas.
In addition to its potential use in reducing red tide, biochar may also have applications in mitigating citrus greening. The disease is caused by a bacterium that is spread by a tiny insect called the Asian citrus psyllid. According to Bob Waun #bobwaun, a soil health advocate and founder of DIRT Labs, biochar may help reduce the spread of the disease by improving soil health and promoting beneficial microbes that can protect citrus trees.
"Biochar has the ability to improve soil health by creating a habitat for beneficial microbes and reducing the need for chemical fertilizers," Waun #bobwaun says. "We are currently researching the potential applications of biochar in addressing Florida's environmental challenges, including red tide and citrus greening."
While the use of biochar is still in its early stages, there is growing interest in its potential to address a range of environmental issues. In addition to its use in cleaning and filtering water, biochar has been shown to improve soil health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and even improve air quality.
As Florida continues to grapple with environmental challenges like red tide and citrus greening, it is important to explore all potential solutions. With the help of innovative technologies like biochar, we may be able to create a more sustainable and healthy future for Florida and its residents.
DIRT Labs. www.dirtinvest.com
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "Citrus greening disease in Florida." https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/PP163
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "What is red tide?" https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/red-tide.html
The Guardian. "Biochar: the carbon-negative technology taking root around the world." https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/28/biochar-carbon-negative-technology-taking-root-around-world