Remineralize the Earth participated in the 4th World Conference on Ecological Restoration that took place on August 21-24 in the colonial city of Merida, at the heart of Yucatan peninsula in southeastern Mexico. Joanna Campe gave a presentation on Dr. Thomas Goreau's exciting research study documenting a significant increase in height and biomass volume of trees remineralized with basalt rock dust in Panama. Over 1200 people, mostly restoration scientists and practitioners, attented the conference organized by the Society of Ecological Restoration.
Dr. Goreau saw this project as an "experiment of opportunity". He was present when a basalt quarry in Panama opened and saw that small Acacia Mangium tree seedlings had been planted on three easily classifiable soil types to create the parameters for the study: trees growing on non-arable local soils, trees grown on the basalt outcrop of the quarry and trees grown in a thin layer of basalt rock dust. He observed the trees over 5 years and extracted the data for growth, survivability and a soil analysis of the three areas
The results were an 8-fold increase in biomass, 2.17 increase in height of the trees and 4 times the survivability. The trees on the local soil did not survive.
As well as increased biomass and survival rate of the trees, Dr. Goreau concluded that rock powders alone provide a wide range of essential minerals as slow release fertilizer and a carbon sink.
Dr. Goreau also predicted that the effects could be greatly increased by addition of biochar and recommended mobilizing a group of scientists to perform a large-scale research project to further optimize use of various rock powders, plants, soil types, climate regimes, and management practices.
Acacia Mangium trees on local soil (left) and remineralized soil (right) 59 months after planting
After multiple presentations at the conference, Dr. Goreau, as well as Ron Larson, an expert on biochar, and Albert Bates, author and director of the Institute for Appropriate Technology, participated in a discussion on the potential role of remineralization to sequester carbon and stabilize the climate, which was facilitated by Joanna Campe and filmed by Dasha Gaian, RTE's media director, and the official photographer for the conference. The video will be coming soon to the website.
Dr. Goreau, President of the Global Coral Reef Alliance and Coordinator of the UN Commission (SIDSPINST), has published around 200 papers on global climate change, the global carbon cycle, stabilization of atmospheric CO2, tropical deforestation and reforestation, microbiology, soil science, atmospheric chemistry, mathematical modeling of climate records and other fields, and was educated at MIT, Caltech, Yale, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Harvard.
RTE greatly appreciates donations that come our way to help cover the cost of the conference and filming. Please contact us if you are a potential donor and would like to support this initiative.