Nigel Gale

Nigel Gale

33 Willcocks Street, Toronto, ON

University of Toronto, Faculty of Forestry

PhD Candidate


Published on Dec 16, 2016

Field update 3: Back in Bangladesh

Hello backers, We are thrilled to announce we are back in Bangladesh collecting data on the biochar experiments! It's been six months since establishment and the results are looking promising, so w...

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Published on May 30, 2016

Field update 2: First experimental forest in Bangladesh!

It gives us great pleasure to announce we have officially established the very first experimental forest in Bangladesh! After careful consideration and much work scouting of forests in Sylhet, we h...

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Published on May 15, 2016

Update from the field: Char and "cha"

We've teamed up with enthusiastic and passionate students from the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology ( SUST ) and have been very busy making biochar and setting up experimental plots i...

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Published on May 03, 2016

Learning about tropical forest ecology and conservation in Malaysia -- departing for Bangladesh!

The team has just finished a two week field course in Malaysia where we studied tropical forest ecology, conservation, and management across the peninsula and on the island of Borneo. We are taking...

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Published on Mar 16, 2016

Our project is featured in U of T news!

Thanks to all of you for supporting this research. We are proud to announce that the University of Toronto news made a story about this project!

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Published on Feb 18, 2016

Md. Abdul Halim recieves Centre for Global Change Science Award

Good news as our project start date approaches (End of April): Md. Abdul Halim has received the University of Toronto Centre for Global Change Science award for his project titled "Effect of biocha...

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Published on Dec 31, 2015

Biochar increases growth of tree saplings in our preliminary nursery experiment in Bangladesh!

Happy holidays experimenters! Thank you much for supporting our research. We have been busy putting together the results from our preliminary tree seedling growth responses to biochar from a nurser...

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Published on Nov 16, 2015

Extraordinary biochar: an introduction, and results from the lab and field

the last four years I’ve been passionately investigating plant growth and physiological responses to biochar. The results have been interesting, surprising, and honestly quite extraordinary.Let’s ...

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It's assuredly time for an update- no less on a positive note to end the year. The results are in, published that is, biochars from local wood residues enhance soil fertility across the various land-use types in the degraded tropical soils in which it was applied to. The paper is the first of what we hope will be many and was led by Md. Rezaul Karim, "Ronnie", who was an undergraduate at the time at the local university: Shahlal University of Science and Technology. You can read the paper here (It's open source): What's really cool is the cover photo of the students in the background of the flames of the kiln pyrolyzer! You can see them, which means pyrolysis is indeed occurring as no smoke or combustion occurs. That photo can be found ablaze on the journal main website here: Thanks once more everyone who helped make so many dreams come true. We now understand a bit more about poorly researched systems that are exceedingly weathered and vulnerable to environmental changes. Better yet, we have a way forward to manage these soils with biochars that are carbon sinks, enhance fertility, and is fairly straightforward and sustainable. Stay tuned for more updates. Happy new year and holiday Season.
Dec 26, 2020
Combating climate change with biochar in beautiful Bangladesh
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Hi Mazen, Thank you for your comments. This is most certainly a carbon neutral strategy with the very likely possibility of being carbon negative. It's important to understand that pyrolysis does not involve combustion and is rather the thermal degradation of vegetative sources. Even the traditional systems used in the region have a relatively small percentage of oxygen and thus minimal combustion. However, there are some carbon-based by-products of pyrolysis that can be harmful to the environment, such as hydrocarbons, alcohols, phenolics, but these are produced in relatively low amounts. This has actually been the subject of some of my doctorate research. If one uses waste materials to make biochar (vegetative sources that would otherwise decompose and emit carbon back into the atmosphere), then making biochar sinks approximately 50-60% of the original carbon, even in low-tech traditional pyrolysis systems. Now, if the biochar applied increases system productivity, and specifically plant growth, then the net carbon sink increases considerably more. Our own research has shown tremendous increases in plant responses especially in tropical systems (by several orders of magnitude in some cases)! If biochar demonstrates strong restoration success across tropical systems in this study, it's production would greatly improve the live-li-hoods of many in Bangladesh and elsewhere in really any tropical system. The indirect effects on conservation and climate change mitigation could be enormous. Hope this helps, and thanks for your comments. Cheers, Nigel
Dec 20, 2015
Combating climate change with biochar in beautiful Bangladesh
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Thank you everyone for your fantastic support! We can't wait to get this project started! Will keep everyone informed. All the best, Nigel
Dec 16, 2015
Combating climate change with biochar in beautiful Bangladesh
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Very big thank you to Unique Restoration for their very generous contribution to this project!
Dec 07, 2015
Combating climate change with biochar in beautiful Bangladesh
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Thank you to Valerie and Terry Cowley for their contributions.
Dec 06, 2015
Combating climate change with biochar in beautiful Bangladesh
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Thank you, Jarmila. It's with your support we are able to make a difference!
Dec 05, 2015
Combating climate change with biochar in beautiful Bangladesh
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