Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Terra Preta and Ants

Today is the first day after establishing pots and sown the seed (brinjal) to compare the soil with and without charcoal. I have sowed brinjal seeds in the 12 pots (6+6). To my surprise I saw that in the three control pots the seeds were eaten away by small red ants. The six pots with a mix of 30% charcoal and 70% red soil produced from use of Magh-1 stoves are untouched by ants. TP also acts as a repellent for ants, the chances for the germination of seeds with out any loss to creatures like ants is minimized. I thought this is the first direct benefit apart from Carbon sequestration in TP practice.

Ants dominate most ecosystems, and form 15–20% of the terrestrial animal biomass.[3]
Ants perform many ecological roles that are beneficial to humans, including the suppression of pest populations and aeration of the soil. The use of weaver ants in citrus cultivation in southern China is considered one of the oldest known applications of biological control.[6] On the other hand, ants can become nuisances when they invade buildings, or cause economic losses.
Some species are valued in their role as biological pest control agents.[6] However, their ability to exploit resources brings ants into conflict with humans, as they can damage crops and invade buildings. Some species, such as the red imported fire ant, are regarded as invasive species, since they can spread rapidly into new areas.[7]

No comments: