Glomalin and Conservation in Humboldt County The 1996 discovery of the soil glue glomalin is changing our understanding of the impact of elevated carbon dioxide, while giving important clues to forest health, watersheds, revegetation, wildfire and carbon sequestration. Here I share what I have found so others may read and draw their own conclusions, and relate it to my own experience, Humboldt County issues and stories from the news.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

217. Bukeyes, Sentient Times and BBC 

The Eureka Reporter reported that the Buckeye Conservancy opened nominations for their Stewardship Award for exemplary stewardship. Nominations can only be made by members although any individual, family business or organization can be nominated for the award is eligible to be nominated.
The Buckeye Conservancy was established in 2004 to promote good land management for owners and resource managers. The Buckeye Conservancy, P.O. Box 5607, Eureka, CA, 95501. 707-786-9662. Meanwhile the debate over carbon trading continues as to the value of tree planting. We are pleased California has initiated trading as it is clear many studies are reported without understanding how much carbon is being stored underground as the mycelial residue glomalin. Redwood Reader has had a good number of California readers, who seem willing to pick up where the British are realizing carbon trading, without knowledge of glomalin, is a zero sum game. "Care Needed With Carbon Offsets", "Forests Only "Temporary Carbon Absorbers" It seems ignorance has a way of maintaining its own interests.
Meanwhile two articles in the December 2006 issue of Sentient Times discuss the role of fungi in restoring the earth. Paul Stamens of Fungi Perfecti explains the importance of carbon to soil and fungi's role in creating soil. He recognizes the vast amounts of carbon returned to the atmospheere by development and agriculture. Harnessing the power of fungi to restore the soils while reducing greenhouse gases is just over the horizon of his vision. His comments about trees falling over is partly about soil conditioning but also about how well restoration is occuring underground with many factors like root depth, percentage of soil glue, crowding, root grafting and soil moisture capacity and alerts us to some of the many things that can go wrong in the best intentioned plan. Nevertheless, plants and fungi will continue with their useful relationship conditioning their environment far into the future.
Stamens has studied mushroom cultivation for years but many of the mycorhizzia fruit insignificantly, and they are primary feeders from photosynthetic production and thus difficult to cultivate. Some work has been done innoculating seedlings by people like Dan Wheeler of Oregon White Mushrooms. Our culture has reduced the production and storage to a mininum. Areas of sustainable yield are often operating at a tiny fraction of capacity. Fungi will do this works if given the tools (plants) and opportunity to do so. This opportunity lies in strict competition with other economic land use choices and so must be a viable income for managers and owners and so the need for carbon credits.
The second article deals with reducing the waste stream by reduction with fungi. It includes sequestration of heavy metals and reduction of toxic chemicals. In these cases they are talking about using fungi that procure their own nutritional needs by foraging rather than symbiotic partnership.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

216. Carbon Credits become Real in Humboldt County 

Muck and Mystery, the Gary Jones blog, ran a repeat search for "Glomalin Critics" on October 24, 2006. He found no critics again but was surprised by new to him info from Sara Wright, including the importance of mycorhizzia in sustainable and no-till crop rotations. What was surprising was a comment from a Cornell ecologist David W. Wolfe about "surface chauvinism", apparently in response to why subsoil activities are rarely mentioned in ag circles.
While forestry is a branch of agriculture, one can see the very issues studied so long here in the Redwood Sciences Lab in conjunction with degradation from logging. I have posited my ideas which are logical extensions of the fine work of Ms. Wright, Mattias Rillig and others who have brought glomalin and its properties to light. We point out even water retention in the landscape was reasoned out for Rilligs DOE grant but went unfunded for research money. As far as global warming, Jones at last grasps the huge emissions released by tillage and its implications, although he fails to go the next step to see glomalin as at least a partial solution for global warming, much more efficient than turning off light bulbs as Leo DiCaprio discusses on Yahoo's global warming answers column of December 13, 2006.
Meanwhile large restoration projects are coming online. Last week saw water flow in the Owens River for the first time since the 1913, an amazing accomplishment in view of the need for water in a booming western state. Sixty-two miles of dried river bed will have water and revegetation before the water is put back into the L.A. Aqueduct.,1,7528913.story?page=2&cset=true&ctrack=1&coll=la-news-environment In the north Humboldt County supervisors joined a growing chorus seeking removal of four dams on the Klamath River, for which the State of California has bond money and which are up for relicensing. Salt River in Ferndale is being studied for restoration by the Corps of Engineers, funding being added to the State Water Resources Control Board and Prop 50 funds from the state, administered by locally organized Humboldt County Resource Conservation District.
Seattle area businesses have begun identifying local agriculture products as "salmon safe" in an effort to restore runs. The theme is farms, dairies and vineyards in the region complying withy Salmon safe land use rules are so marked in the stores and shops that carry those products.,1,4058966.story?coll=la-news-environment.
Carbon credit sales to forests are finally coming to at least one Humboldt forest, the The Fred M. van Eck Forest Foundation, through the Pacific Forest Trust. The forest has 2100 acres and is expected to handle 500,000 over 100 years, or about 5000 tons a year, 2.5 tons per acre, and retail the credits at 10 dollars a ton in 5 ton lots. The first purchaser was Californias Environmental Protection agency's chief, Linda Adams, to offset a trip to Nairobi to attend a conference. The trip was figured at 14 tons. This was in response to the state climate team decison in May. About 250,000 tons of credits are available at the van Eck forest.

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