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Scientists have learned that biochar -- a charcoal-like substance -- is the ancient key to the dark, fertile soils of the Amazon. Today biochar is being explored both as a soil amendment and as a way of sequestering carbon in soil.

As Cornell soil scientist Johannes Lehmann shows us, one can make biochar out of almost any organic waste material, and retrieve valuable gasses and liquids which can be used for fuel. The remaining biochar can be added to infertile soil with dramatic effects.