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Phosphorus, Biochar, Entropy, Agricultural Systems, Nutrient Cycles


Studies of Terra Preta soils have generated interest in recreating their fertility elsewhere. Much of the research has focused on soil amendment charcoal (“biochar”). Terra Preta also contains bone fragments, producing a high concentration of phosphorus. Some forecast worldwide declines in phosphorus supplies, and better agricultural system management is required to improve phosphorus use efficiency. A conceptual model is offered to consider the influence of charcoal on bioavailability of phosphorus. The model describes a system where improvements in the chemical and biological condition of the soil result in increased phosphorus availability and cycling. Mechanisms of phosphorus/charcoal interaction are considered, and an assessment is made of the potential impact on African subsistence agriculture from the incorporation of biogenic, allogenic phosphorus through biochar.



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