Planting a Trillion Trees to Save Earth? Remineralization Can Help
Reforesting the Earth with a trillion trees may be the best way to fight climate change, and remineralizing the Earth with crushed rock dust is perhaps the best way to ensure those trees take root, grow and prosper.A recent study from scientists with Crowther Lab in Switzerland found 223 million acres (900 million hectares) of global tree restoration is the most effective climate change solution, as those trees (about a trillion) would store about 205 billion tons (186 tonnes) of carbon, or roughly two thirds of the carbon emitted since the Industrial Revolution.
Unfortunately, decades of poor agricultural practices, desertification and simple lack of adequate soil nutrients hinder reforestation efforts on much of the lands where trees would need to be planted. Fortunately, Remineralize the Earth (RTE) has a solution — rock dust.
In the words of esteemed biogeochemist and marine biologist Thomas Goreau, “Rock powders act as a natural slow release, long-lasting fertilizer greatly increasing soil fertility, biomass, biological productivity, and food supplies. At the same time, chemical reaction with rocks is the major mechanism that removes CO2 from the atmosphere on geological time scales. This is an important solution to reverse runaway global climate change.”In an RTE study, Dr. Goreau found that Acacia Mangium tree seedlings planted in a thin layer of local basalt rock dust from a Panama quarry had an eight-fold increase in biomass, 2.17 increase in tree height and four times the survivability over five years when compared to other study samples. Trees planted on the local soil did not survive.
Hard silicate rock is one of the most abundant resources on the planet. It is readily available as a byproduct from the aggregate industry, and RTE promotes its simple, low-cost application to soils and forests.
While rock powders alone provide a wide range of essential minerals, Goreau predicted that adding biochar could greatly improve the effects of remineralization and he recommended mobilizing scientists to perform a large-scale research project to study various rock powders, plants, soil types, climate regimes, and management practices. Large-scale projects currently underway using rock dust with biochar and compost include one at UC Davis and one at Stone House Farm in Hudson, NY.
According to RTE Founder and Executive Director Joanna Campe, “Throughout millennia, soils form during the glacial cycles, through volcanic eruptions and alluvial deposits. It is nature’s way to restore minerals and trace elements to our soils, and remineralization is a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers and pesticides.”
Regenerative agriculture, agroforestry, as well as remineralization of forests are crucial to stabilizing the climate on a vast scale.
RTE educates, advocates and engages in on-the-ground activism through domestic and international projects. The non-profit organization promotes soil remineralization as simple, intuitively learned and applicable at the community level. It is an important tool for agroforestry projects that create food security and food sovereignty and enhance nutrition.
RTE research and advocacy align with the recent findings of Swiss researchers at Crowther Lab: Reforesting the Earth can combat global climate change, and remineralizing the Earth can help.
For more details on Goreau’s Panama study, please visit https://www.remineralize.org/2019/03/how-volcanic-rock-dust-can-save-tropical-soils/
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Remineralize the Earth (RTE) promotes the use of finely ground rock dust and sea-based minerals to restore soils and forests, produce more nutritious food, and remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Since 1996, this 501(c)3 non-profit (EIN: 22-3411880) has facilitated a global movement through education, outreach, projects, research and advocacy, bringing together gardeners and farmers, scientists and policymakers, and the public, to regenerate soils and forests around the world, increase the nutritional quality and yield of food, and stabilize the climate through carbon sequestration.
Based out of Northampton, MA, RTE aims to restore soils and forests, increase the mineral content in foods, and raise nutrition levels of produce grown in countries with very poor soils, such as in the Caribbean and Africa and create resilient food systems that sequester carbon.
For more information, contact:
Joanna Campe, RTE executive director
152 South Street, Northampton, MA 01060 USA