Stonemeal Technology: Changing the Poverty Scenario in Brazil
Suzi H. Theodoro, Othon H. Leonardos, Kleysson G. Rego and Eduardo L. Rocha
Stonemeal technique within an agro-geo-ecological, technological context was introduced to a specific group of family farmers in the state of Bahia, northeast of Brazil as part of a partnership between the University of Brasilia and the Bahia State government. The group was composed of ‘afrodescent’ farmers who live in isolated communities. The ’Cio da Terra Project’ aims at improving soils and agricultural production, and serves about 1200 families in ten communities. In general, communities do not have access to official financing, suitable technical assistance and local market access mechanisms. The experiments and tests were implemented in all ten areas with the purpose of demonstrating the feasibility of using stonemeal to improve soil fertility and, consequently, agricultural production. The material used was locally available crushed amphibolites and phosphate rocks, associated with cow manure. After two years of activities, it is possible to say that the results were highly positive, both with regards to increased production and communities’ mobilization. On test plots, the levels of available phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium increased in the soil after application of ground rock and cow manure. The soil pH changed and, in many cases, increased from highly acidic to mildly acidic or mildly alkaline. Plant development (corn/maize, beans and cassava) also showed a positive increase in yield when compared with the production on control plots. These initial results point out the feasibility of the agro-geo- ecological projects directed to traditional communities, as they offer new opportunities for social, productive and economic inclusion to family farmers. They also enhance the supply and diversity of food, thus improving the food security among poor farmers.
Official Green Disc Press Release at COP15
The Green Disc DVD at COP15 in Copenhagen given to all UN Delegations on December 16 includes RTE
To read the press release click here
Remineralize the Earth and soil remineralization have been included in a 40 chapter interactive multimedia disc of innovative, proven, cost-effective new technologies for integrated sustainable development, adaptation to rising temperature and sea level, and solutions for reversing global climate change.
Remineralize the Earth was invited to submit a chapter for a book on a DVD called The Green Disc: New Technologies for a New World. The DVD has been given to all the UN delegates at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen on December 16.
The disc, prepared by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development Small Island Developing States Partnership in New Sustainable Technologies (SIDSPINST), was edited by Dr. Thomas Goreau (founder and Coordinator of the Partnership, a member of the Jamaica delegation, and former Senior Scientific Affairs Officer for global climate change and biodiversity issues at the United Nations Centre for Science and Technology for Development) and Sara Trab Nielsen (from Denmark, author and editor of several major World Bank publications on the impacts of global climate change on sustainable development), and features the work of top innovators in new sustainable technologies.
The potential of remineralization with rock mineral fines to transform agriculture, forestry, sustainable biofuels production, sequester carbon, and stabilize the climate
By Joanna Campe(1), Dan Kittredge(2), and Lee Klinger(3)
(1) Remineralize the Earth, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA
(2) The Real Food Campaign, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA
(3) Sudden Oak Life, Big Sur, California, USA
Introduction: Soil Formation and Fertility
Soil Remineralization (SR) creates fertile soils by returning the minerals to the soil much the same way the Earth does: by weathering of minerals from rocks. Normally this is a slow chemical process, limited by the surface area of the rock exposed to water and CO2. During Ice Ages, glaciers crush rocks in their path, producing a fine rock "flour" that is carried by water and ice to form deposits at the end of the glacier called moraines. After Ice Ages end, winds blow the dust, called "loess" all over the globe. Loess soils, most abundant in China, Eastern Europe, and North America are the foundation of the highly productive agriculture of those regions.
Volcanoes erupt spewing forth minerals from deep within the Earth, and minerals are contained in alluvial deposits. As rocks weather, their minerals are released into new soils. These are extremely productive where fresh volcanic materials are weathered, but decrease in fertility with age as soluble minerals are leached from the soils, especially in warm areas with high rainfall. This is why young volcanic areas, such as Java, Costa Rica, and Hawaii are so fertile, and why older tropical areas such as Brazil, Africa, and Australia have such poor, mineral-deficient soils. Such infertile soils would benefit enormously by having volcanic rock powders added to them to increase their fertility.
Co-utilization of Rockdust, Mineral Fines and Compost
Working towards integrated resource recycling and use
Robin A.K. Szmidt & John Ferguson
For those who have seen the regeneration of poor soils into highly productive systems through the practice of soil remineralization the empirical evidence has been sufficient to convince many that there is something of great interest happening in soils treated with rock dusts and other mineral sources. The early history of soil remineralization in Scotland was the result of the vision and commitment of Cameron and Moira Thomson of the Sustainable Ecological Earth Regeneration (SEER) Centre just outside Pitlochry in Highland Perthshire. These remarkable people championed the issue to the point where it is gradually gaining main stream interest. This reflects growing interest in the protection of soils as a fundamental resource of any sustainable society, the clear relationship between soils and the wider environment and the relationship between soils, the foods they grow and human health; of fundamental importance as Scotland increasingly focuses on the challenges of sustainable development.
Azomite Rock Dust as a Cure for Citrus Blight Disease
As written in a letter to Remineralize the Earth Editor, Joanna Campe
J.F.L. Childs used Azomite brand rock dust to cure trees affected with Citrus Blight Disease. To his knowledge, those cured are the only ones that have ever recovered from the disease which was reported in Florida in 1870. According to his research, this disease occurs wherever citrus trees are grown, although the name is different in different countries. He has reported research on this disease as follows:
The Importance and Effects of Rock Dust in Orchards and Gardens
Closeup of tomato roots - Remineralized plant on the left.
Fritz Leipold has over 25 years experience with the application of basalt rock dust, especially in orchards, fruit, and vegetable gardens. He is a retired garden landscape consultant and has experience in education and teaching.
He was head of the Department for Tree Nurseries and Landscaping at the Research Training Institute, and now Technical College in Weihenstephan, and has been a teacher and advisor for vegetables, fruit, and horticulture in the area of Siegkreises since 1948. The following passages are overviews of his insights since 1950 in applying basalt rock dust to fruit and vegetable gardens.
The Effects of Basalt Rock Dust Emissions on Trees in Germany
The slope beside the basalt quarry was created during the years 1952-1965, and on this slope the natural effects of basalt emissions on spruce trees were discovered. The material utilized consists of the layers of rock dust that were situated above the basalt and could not be used for production. From 1-6 meters depth of soil and clay were taken out. The planting of the hill with spruce trees began in 1972 and the forester of the region was very skeptical and did not tend the trees.
Men of the Trees in Western Australia
Field and nursery trials directed by Barrie Oldfield, President.
- Five times the growth for the same species of trees.
- The potting out time has been shortened from five months to six weeks.
- The fineness of the dust particles is more important than the actual mass of the dust material.
- With dust of which 61.9% of has a particle size of 75 microns or less, the beneficial plateau in these trials is in the region of 15-20 tons/ha. At 12 tons/ha the plant growth was markedly inferior.
- Men of the Trees plant 1/3 million trees per year, mostly in arid climates in Australia and Africa.
- Material used: granite dust from Pioneer Quarry.
Forest Growth Increased with Rockdust on Grandfather Mountain near Asheville, North Carolina
Dr. Robert Bruck
North Carolina State University
- 500 five-year-old red spruce and fraser fir trees were treated with Planters II rock dust applied at the following rates: 50-gram/pot, 25 g/pot, 10 g/pot, and 0 g/pot. After a 6-month period, observations were made on root color, diameters, height-growth, and survival.
- Survival rate of all rock-dusted trees was 100%, versus 87% of fraser fir and 77% of spruce of the controls.
- Growth rate increases:
- Red spruce were 37, 18, and 5 percent.
- Fraser fir were 39, 21, and 14 percent.
Remineralization and Increased Nutrient Density for Corn
John D. Hamaker, co-author with Don Weaver, The Survival of Civilization
Four Times the Timber Volume for a Forest in Central Europe
Von u. Sauter and K. Foerst
The Barvarian Research and Experimental Institute for Forestry, Munich, Germany, 1986.
Summary of the four page German study translated by Christian Campe. The original German version is available in the Forestry Research Packet through mail order.
This report contains information on fertilization with rock dust and itspractical application. The widely used term "gesteinsmehl" refers topulverized silicate rocks.
Bananas: Cost-Benefit Analysis for MinPlus (Volcanic Basalt Rock Dust)
The Harding Brothers farm in Queensland, Australia has been doing trials with rock dust since mid-1985.
- Fertilizer applications have been reduced by 80 percent.
- Saving in fertilizer costs
- Minimizing environmental damage caused by runoff contamination.
- Dolomite application reduced by 50% and at 16 months there is no sign of magnesium deficiency. This deficiency was a problem prior to using Min Plus.
- The banana plants are more healthy with vigorous root systems.
- 25% higher yields.
- 20% increase in growth rate, resulting in a faster turnoff of fruit.
- The sum of these benefits has resulted in an incredible 80% increase in production with a substantial decrease in fertilizer cost:
- Fertilizer savings per year = $3,647/Ha
- Increased crop value per year = $53,125/Ha
- Total cost benefit per year = $56,722/Ha
Chemical and mineralogical characterisation of cutting process sludge
PETER VAN STRAATEN
Dr. Annita Colombo*, Dr. Annalisa Tunesi*, Dr. Valentina Barberini**,Dr. Lucia Galimberti*, Dr. Alessandro Cavallo* *Department ofGeological Sciences and Geotechnologies, University of Milan Bicocca -www.geo.unimib.it **Department of Earth Sciences Ardito Desio,University of Milan
The sludge produced through the sawing and working of stone is stillconsidered an inert waste product. Once it has satisfied the requiredcriteria for acceptance, it is given to authorised waste dumps (D.M.03/08/2005). The first fundamental step towards evaluating its possiblereutilisation is to find out its chemical and mineralogical compositionand assess any possible compositional variation in time. In order to dothis, and as part of the PIC INTERREG III A project, a systematicsampling was carried out with 11 firms (9 of which are located in theVerbano Cusio Ossola area and 2 in the Canton Ticino). 2 samples amonth were systematically collected for 6 - 8 months from each firm;the two samples from each month were then mixed in order to obtain onesample per firm to analyse every month. The chemical and mineralogicalcomposition of the sludge was then established; on the one hand therewere obvious connections between the make-up of the sludge and that ofthe stone from which it came; on the other hand, significantdifferences from the original rock were also highlighted. This wasfound to be due to the different type of processing carried out by eachfirm.
Research on Saving California Oaks
Lee K. Klinger
P.O. Box 644, Big Sur, California 93920
Pathologists investigating the recent death of many oak trees in northern California have concluded that the problem is due to a new plant disease, dubbed sudden oak death (SOD), caused by the fungal pathogen Phytophthora ramorum. While not disputing that P. ramorum is involved in the final demise of many oaks, there are a growing numberof experts who do not agree that this pathogen is the fundamental cause of the decline. They point out that most of the dying oaks in SOD-affected forests show no expression of P. ramorum. Instead, they suggest that acidic conditions create mineral imbalances and deficiencies in soils that weaken the trees, raising their susceptibility to secondary pests and pathogens. Here I present evidence that, due to fire suppression, there has been progressive acidification of oak forests, leading to greater incidence of disease.This helps us understand both why the SOD phenomena is occuring now andwhat can be done to solve the problem.
Farming With Rocks and Minerals: Challenges and Opportunities
Peter Van Straaten
Department of Land Resource Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1
Manuscript received on September 29, 2005; accepted for publication on March 13, 2006
Presented by Othon H. Leonardo
In many parts of the world food security is at risk. One of the biophysical root causes of falling per-capita food production is the declining quality and quantity of soils. To reverse this trend and increase soil fertility soil and plant nutrients have to be replenished. This review provides a literature survey of experiences of using multi-nutrient rock fertilizers for soil fertility enhancement from temperate and tropical environments. Advantages and limitations of the application of rock fertilizers are discussed. Examples are provided from two successful nutrient replenishment projects in Africa where locally available rock fertilizers are used on highly leached acid soils. The potential of combining organic materials alongside rock fertilizers in soil fertility replenishment strategies is stressed.