Field trip in Indonesia (September 2016)

Ruy Anaya de la Rosa (B4SS), Gerard Cornelissen (Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, NGI), Erlend Sørmo (NGI), and Jan Mulder (Norwegian University of Life Sciences) visited the biochar project in Indonesia in September 2016. The trip involved a lot of traveling in three islands, and plenty of traffic in Jakarta.

In Bogor, we met with Bu Neneng (Indonesian Soil Research Institute, ISRI), a local partner, to plan the activities for this trip. In the evening, we had the opportunity to meet Nils Borchard (CIFOR) who has published biochar peer-reviewed articles with Brenton Ladd, the coordinator of the B4SS project in Peru. We discussed the possibilities for collaboration with NGI and B4SS to do biochar research work.

The next day, Jan, Bu Neneng and Ruy went to Lampung, where some of the B4SS project activities will take place. NGI and ISRI have conducted biochar experiments at ISRI’s research station in Lampung. They have investigated the effects of biochar produced from cacao shells on maize, and the results seem to be promising. The B4SS project will extend ISRI’s biochar field trials and work now with some farmers in the area to increase their knowledge on using biochar for sustainable land management.

It was very interesting to walk through the biochar field trials and observe the effects of biochar produced from cacao shells on maize yield. This was the second season of the experiment, and the effects of biochar on maize were still noticeable in some treatments. Further research is needed to elucidate the longer-term effect of this biochar on maize planted at ISRI’s station. The B4SS project will contribute to the extension of these trials and to the establishment of new biochar experiments on adjacent land that potentially has different soil characteristics.

In the evening, we went back to Jakarta and joined Gerard and Erlend to prepare for another meeting. The next day, we met with another local partner that is collaborating with NGI to implement biochar projects in Sumba. One of the purposes of the meeting was to plan the activities of our trip to Sumba in the following days. Then, we went to Sumba and visited three potential villages that could be part of NGI’s biochar work with the local partner.

At the end of the trip, we decided that the B4SS project activities will be mainly conducted by ISRI and NGI in Lampung, and the plan now is to introduce biochar to more farmers in East Java where ISRI is also very active. It was a pleasure to visit the B4SS biochar project with our partners in Indonesia. Thank you to Bu Neneng and to the Norwegian group of biochar experts!