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Redwood Forest Foundation

Spring 2014 Newsletter

Biochar Update
by Judy Harwood, Project Coordinator

Judy Harwood
Judy Harwood
After three years of research, planning and design, the RFFI biochar project was launched last November. The project will thin low value hardwoods, primarily tanoaks, from the Usal Forest and create a marketable gardening product.

Approximately 500 tanoaks were carefully selected and removed from a 2.5 acre portion of our ten acre demonstration plot - a heavily overcrowded stand - according to specifications developed by Greg Giusti, UC Cooperative Extension Advisor. The tanoak logs are now stacked and drying in the woods where they will be chipped and transported to the Biochar Conversion Unit once the equipment is operational this fall. Greg will be returning to the demonstration plot this spring for a post-thinning assessment.

The Biochar equipment is currently under construction in Boulder, Colorado, and expected to be completed this June. After completion, a team from the Schatz Energy Research Center (SERC) at Humboldt State University will assess the unit's productivity with tanoak before the unit is delivered to Mendocino County.

In the meantime, RFFI is working hard on the project's marketing and educational components. RFFI has hired Raymond Baltar, co-founder of the Sonoma Biochar Initiative (SBI), to complete a regional market and distribution study for Usal biochar sales. This new partnership with SBI opens the door for regional collaboration between nonprofit entities interested in producing and selling biochar for ecological, economic and social equity purposes.

Once the conversion unit is in place, RFFI will be offering community demonstration tours. Our updated website at (www.RFFI.org/Biochar.html) is the best way to stay tuned on progress, sign up for tours and periodic eBlasts and take advantage of our extensive biochar resources.


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