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Carbon Cycle and Health

by Malcolm Beck

When first measured years ago, the atmospheric CO2 (carbon dioxide) was at 270 ppm. (Parts per million). Now atmospheric CO2 is over 380 ppm and expected to reach 600 ppm in a few years. The rise is blamed on burning fossil fuels; however, back in ancient history, all of the carbon in the fossil fuels was combined with oxygen in CO2 before the plants collected it and Nature (probably the Biblical Flood) put it under ground.

Sixteen years ago a scientist speaking to an environmental group stated that “All we need to do to offset the carbon dioxide going into the air from burning fossil fuels is to increase the organic content of our farm lands 1 tenth of 1 percent each year. That would take the CO2 out of the air and put it back in the soil where it belongs”. However, he didn't tell us how to do this. This statement got me to thinking and studying. With the help of soil scientists, we concluded, if we weighed the carbon missing from our farm and ranch lands it would just about equal the excess carbon that is in the air.

When soil scientists first began recording in this country the soil organic content was between 3 and 8 percent. Now, the soil organic content is down to 20 percent or less than the original recorded amount. Some farms lands are down to .2 percent.

Bad farming practices, over tilling and over-use of high analysis, carbonless, chemical fertilizers have destroyed the organic content and health of our food producing soils. This is causing serious environmental problems of soil erosion, water shortages, air pollution and nitrate toxicity in much of our drinking water. These environmental problems adversely affect the health of plant, animal and human life on earth.

Worldwide, humans churn out 8 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year. There are 455 million acres of cropland in the US. and 578 million acres of grassland pasture. If we increased the organic content of just our cropland in the US a puny one percent we would take out 4.55 billion tons (over half of what the world generates annually) of carbon dioxide out of the air and return it to the soil. .

When moisture and temperature is best for plant growth, it is also the best environmental conditions for the soil macro and micro life to degrade expired life forms. The decaying activity on and in the soil releases an abundance of CO2, much greater than all the animal life above ground generates and releases. However, CO2 is slightly heavier than air, it can remain near the ground allowing plants to recapture it. Then, using energy from the sun, the plant separates the carbon from the oxygen, and then uses the carbon to make carbohydrates, a food and energy for all life. The released oxygen is the catalyst that allows us to use the food and energy.

Research by Dr. Joe Bradford, a USDA/ARS scientist, discovered the farmers that practice conservation tillage and no till agriculture see their soil organic content go up one tenth of one percent each year. Holistic management ranchers and organic farmers also see the organic content of their soil go up each year.

If we would humble ourselves and study Nature’s ways of soil improvement instead of always trying to dominate her, our soil, plants and all higher life, us included, would be much healthier and happier.

Carbon dioxide facts

The higher the CO2 concentration the better the plant grows until the concentration gets over ten times the normal or about 2700-ppm.

In a closed greenhouse, on a bright sunny day, growing plants run short of CO2 causing the growth to slow. Covering the floor and walkways with a decaying organic mulch can produce a lot of CO2, this improves the growth, flowering, fruit production and health of plants.

Photosynthesis rates are greatest when sunlight intensity is 1/4 to 1/3 less than maximum. But, if sunlight gets too low the stomata close and restrict the entrance of CO2. However, research has shown that CO2 can also pass through the epidermis of some plants

When light intensities are too high on a bright, hot afternoon photosynthesis will shut down in many plants. And in some plants Photo-oxidation occurs, the leaves consume oxygen, causing them to bleach out.

Even though a succulent plant is mostly water it still pulls a lot of CO2 out of the air to create carbohydrates that it sends out through the roots to feed microbes in the rhizosphere (around the root), which helps the plant in numerous ways. Up to 80 percent of the carbohydrates a plant manufactures is sent to and out the roots. This attracts billions of microbes-bacteria, fungi and other soil life that is not only beneficial, but also necessary for healthy plant growth.

Much of the CO2 that is released in the soil from decay is dissolved in water to form carbonic acids (H2CO3) which combines with soil minerals, dissolving and making them available for plant uptake.

Plants need to transpire to pull minerals dissolved in water toward their roots. Soil low in necessary mineral nutrients could cause a plant to transpire more causing moisture loss from the soil. 99 percent of the water the plant pulls from the soil is transpired to the air.

A high mineral nutrient level in the soil will allow a plant to grow better and faster with less transpiration.

A high concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere also allows the stomata to quickly get enough carbon so it needs to stay open a shorter period and stay shut longer, which also saves moisture lost form transpiration, which conserves soil moisture.



Yearbooks of agriculture.
Plant physiology books.
College chemistry and physics books.
Many science publications.
44 years of my own research on the farm and in greenhouses.


Volcanic rock, Energy & Health

In the beginning there were no plants, nor any life on Earth. There was no life on Earth because there was no soil to support life--but there was no soil because it takes life forces to create productive soil. At some point the Almighty saw fit to breath life on Earth. It was a very primitive form of life; it could live on rock, feed on and etch away at the rock. This micro life would exude, die and decompose on the rock. This process went on and on until very small amounts of our first soil was formed.

Even though extremely small, the life, death and decay of these life forms created conditions for more and higher life forms. After countless centuries of creating soil more complex and, still higher, forms of life could exist. Finally Man, the most complex of all life could exist and be sustained.

Basalt, lava and granite were some of the first rock that was etched, eroded and dissolved by the first life forms into soil. Because of the once extreme heat and possibly because of the centrifugal force of the spinning earth these rocks held a slight magnetic energy, or paramagnetic energy, this energy was recognized by the ancients and used in their mighty rock structures.

Paramagnetic energy was studied by Phillip S. Callahan PhD and published in a book in 1995 entitled, “Paramagnetism”. I studied all of Callahan’s writings and visited with him personally. And have done several years of research using paramagnetic materials. I discover that heat could make certain clay and rock minerals paramagnetic. And that high centrifugal force can also make non-ferrous materials paramagnetic.

My most astounding discovery was, how paramagnetic rock could enhance the growth of plants and help plants overcome stresses of heat, cold, diseases, insects and even herbicides.

Blended in fertile soil or mixed with compost, paramagnetic materials perform the best. When used in the soil around tomato plants they withstood sustained 28-degree temperature without the slightest evidence that a freeze ever occurred when all other tomato plants for miles around were frozen to the ground. I also used compost and paramagnetic rock sand blended in the soil when 7 olive were planted. I gave 14 of the same age and species of olive to surrounding neighbors to put in their landscape. The following year when all the trees were 3 to 4 ft. tall we had a hard freezes, the temperature dropped to 16-degree. My trees fed with paramagnetic sand had a few slightly nipped leaves while the other 14 olive trees were frozen to death.

Every test preformed with the paramagnetic material was checked against a control and with every test there were positive results.

I now have a meter to test the degree of paramagnetism of materials and have discovered that materials lose paramagnetism while exposed to the elements. However, the exposure time is measured in centuries.

The first plants to evolve on earth were growing in mineral rich, paramagnetic soil. This low level energy evidently has beneficial influences on plants and possible all life. With plants it causes the sap to load up with minerals and sugars, which are known to give plants resistance to insects and diseases. The concentration of minerals and sugars in the sap also gives it much lower freezing point.

Research and logic has proven. It takes a healthy soil to grow a healthy plant and a healthy plant to grow a healthy body and a healthy body supports a sound mind. Paramagnetic soils are one component of that health.


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last updated:  January 14, 2004