Turning carbon footprints into healthy soils

by Camino Verde
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Turning carbon footprints into healthy soils
Turning carbon footprints into healthy soils
Turning carbon footprints into healthy soils

Project Report | Jul 5, 2019
Thank you - Project Completed!

By Robin Van Loon | Executive Director

Dear friends of Camino Verde,

I am so glad to share with you that last month we reached and surpassed our funding goal for Turning Carbon Footprints Into Healthy Soils, one of our two projects on GlobalGiving. We are so grateful to you our contributors and so excited for its successful completion this past month. And have no fear – the mission and spirit of this project and of Camino Verde can still be found on GlobalGiving on our other project page, despite the successful completion of Carbon Footprints. 

After all these years of existence as a project, it may be helpful to go back to the beginning and ask, Where did the Carbon Footprints project come from? In 2010 and 2011 Camino Verde participated in research with biochar, or charcoal used in the soil, in nurseries and in reforestation areas in our region of the Peruvian Amazon. Biochar is synonymous with charcoal used in agriculture, on the farm or in the plant nursery, but it was invented by indigenous Amazonians over a thousand years ago.  Called "terra preta" in the literature, or "Amazonian dark earth," biochar allowed for something that the tropics and the Amazon in particular have trouble providing: stable fertility in the soil, fertility that lasts for centuries. 

We were inspired by the results we saw when biochar was applied to nursery soil mixes.  And since we run 3 tree nurseries in the Madre de Dios region, we had no choice but to pursue the inclusion of biochar in our substrate blends.  The key step was researching different technologies for the production of charcoal, which can be very polluting and also terrible for the health of nearby people if done wrong.  We eventually discovered and settled on the Adam Retort, an environmentally-preferable kiln developed in Sub-Saharan Africa by Dr. Chris Adam. We are proud to have built the first ever Adam Retort in Madre de Dios. 

Ever since the Retort was built we have produced charcoal regularly. Biochar goes into every nursery bag from our nurseries, producing over 100 species of trees every year and the average hovering well over 50,000 seedlings propagated annually. We also apply the charcoal to our agroforestry systems, hectares upon acres of reforested areas of Amazon that were once deforested for farming. Each tree planted gets a small payload of biochar. 

It makes us proud to reach our funding goal, and we truly consider this project to be a great success. Why?  Because now we have our oven in place and our team trained to use it, because our nurseries and reforestation sites carry its products and benefits, and because we are now selling enough seedlings to fund the continuing production of biochar as part of the nursery's regular operatons. It's a success because now it stands on its own feet and no longer requires the injection of funds to keep the carbon sequestration going.  Of course, without a doubt, we are still here if you have a carbon footprint you're looking to offset, which we can make possible through the tree planting on our other project page

Thank you a thousand times!

Olivia with a giant kapok tree.
Olivia with a giant kapok tree.
Percy and our Adam Retort oven.
Percy and our Adam Retort oven.
Working the tree nursery.
Working the tree nursery.
A giant kapok tree in our primary forest.
A giant kapok tree in our primary forest.
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Mar 20, 2019
Going from Green to Ripe -and Almost Fully Funded!

By Ursula Leyva | Admin Director

Oct 26, 2018
Notes from the Nursery

By Robin Van Loon & Manuel Huinga | Executive Director & Forestry Program Coordinator

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Organization Information

Camino Verde

Location: Concord, MA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Robin Van Loon
Concord , MA Peru

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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