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2010 Year in Review: Letter to Our Membership from IBI Executive Director, Debbie Reed

Biochar in use in a field.

black is green

biochar

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2010 was a big year for biochar - New biochar projects hit the ground on every continent, from Australia to Africa. IBI and Embrapa hosted the international biochar community at Biochar 2010 in Brazil, and IBI went to COP 16 in Cancun to make sure biochar is included in new methods to count carbon sequestration in soils. Photos courtesy of Salim Shaban, James Joyce, Doug Clayton,

On behalf of the International Biochar Initiative, I thank you for your support of the organization this last year. It has been a busy time for us and we appreciate the backing of our members—especially since it was the first full year of our membership program. I hope that you will decide to join or renew your IBI membership for 2011.

2010 has been an eventful year for our organization. IBI continues to grow and expand our presence and sphere of influence globally, aided by exponential growth in the number of universities and research associations with biochar programs; published, peer-reviewed data on all aspects of biochar production and utilization; new and more actors in the commercial biochar space; and growing public, media, and policymaker interest in biochar. 

While IBI does not itself engage in basic or applied research, we help network and support the growing biochar research and development community and we provide regular updates to the IBI network covering progress in the research space. We have also contributed to a steady improvement in the quality of media coverage of biochar as the research advances and reporters gain knowledge about biochar and about IBI. We continue to be excited and positive about the prospects for sustainable biochar production and utilization systems to deliver beneficial climate mitigation and soil enhancement and ecosystem services globally, and while we see a far greater need for public and private sector investments in biochar, we note progress in government investments, promoted at least in part by progress in the science and growing media and policymaker interest. 

Specifically, membership support enabled us to accomplish a very full agenda in 2010 including:

In the next year, IBI plans to focus our work on supporting biochar project implementation; to us, this means working to support the development and implementation of biochar systems that are commercially viable and sustainable, and that cover the entire production to utilization spectrum. We believe that strong, well designed projects will most benefit biochar implementation and acceptance worldwide by providing operational models that can be replicated. As part of this project focus, we will:

  • Continue to support policy efforts which can increase support for biochar R&D, at national and international levels.
  • Finalize our biochar standards work, producing a draft standard by 4th quarter 2011.
  • Continue to publicize biochar news, projects, practitioners, events and research through our website, newsletter, and regional and national conferences. 
  • We are also adding a commercialization section to our website with the goal of adding more concrete and better data on technology, economics, business models and business plans.
  • In May 2011, we will post a call for nominations and hold elections for the IBI Advisory Committee (members of the Advisory Committee must be members of IBI).
  • IBI will also support and participate in biochar conferences including the September 2011 regional Asia Pacific meeting held in Japan.

I hope you will continue your support of IBI’s work to showcase biochar's potential as one of the "wedges" that offer a solution to the climate crisis.  I am writing to ask you to renew your membership in IBI as we move into 2011. Through the hard work of IBI and others, more people are recognizing that sustainable biochar is a powerfully simple tool to fight global warming.  But we need your help to continually expand the services we can offer to the biochar community. Help us raise the resources we need to support greater development of sustainable biochar—please start a new membership or renew your existing membership today, and if possible, please consider contributing at a higher level.

Thank you again for your support of biochar. Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments on IBI.

Sincerely,
Debbie Reed