Basalt Powder Restores Soil Fertility and Greatly Accelerates Tree Growth on Impoverished Tropical Soils in Panama

At the Panama site, the local was mitigated for clearance of the the basalt quarry. The geology of the terrain contained organic minerals such as pleistocene pyroclastic ashes, volcanic tuffs, with a basalt lava outcrop. The soil was highly infertile, with several nutrient limitations. The area was lacking any forestation besides the secondary pioneer which remained after the area was cleared for pasture. The level or precipitation  was 2500mm/yr, with an elevation of 600m. The acacia mangnium trees were planted in the basalt quarry rock, local soil and transition zone. The height of the trees were measured by video after 19 and 59 months. It can be concluded that rock powders alone can be used to greatly increase the growth and survival of plants, providing a wide range of essential minerals such as slow release fertilizers. Rock weathering caused by roots provides a sink of atmospheric CO2. It can be concluded the effects could potentially be greatly increased with the addition of Biochar. It is recommended that rock powders could be widely used as slow release fertilizers. They can be used to greatly aid the restoration of forests and agricultural productivity in poor soils if matched to plant needs, as well as contributing to the removal of CO2. Further research is needed to optimize the use of various rock powders, plants, solid types, climate regimes and management practices.


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