We wonder if a scientist at the NSW Department of Primary Industries, in Australia, might be thinking of putting in a bid for the $25 million in Richard Branson’s Earth Challenge? ‘Coz it appears that he has unearthed an old trick, used for thousands of years by Amazonian Indians. To improve the fertility of their soil on heavily managed plots, they would burn their organic waste in low intensity fires and add the resulting char to the soil. After studying this technique, researcher Lucas Van Zweiten reckons it might safely store carbon, forever. Okay, maybe not, but for a very long time anyhow. "In pyrolisys up to 50 per cent of carbon is maintained as char which can last for several thousand years in the soil," he said. Whereas he notes, with “composting, the majority of carbon in the composting process is lost naturally to microbial degradation to carbon dioxide." (We dug around a bit to find some more info, but only the ABC seem to be running the story at the moment.) ::ABC Rural.