Born Out Of The Woods

The Natural Charcoal Company and was born as a result of a Coppice restoration/ woodland conservation plan. We own and manage a 33 acre woodland in the Lake District, and the wood used to make our charcoal products is a direct by-product of this conservation work.

Why Charcoal?

Charcoal has been used for thousands of years for many applications, from water filtration to digestive detoxification. What really caught our imagination was reading about the ‘Terra Preta’ soils in the amazon; these soils, discovered in the 1980’s, were found to be incredibly fertile due to the addition of charcoal, over many years, by the ancient tribes who lived upon them. It was this coupled with charcoal’s net zero carbon credentials which inspired us to spread the ‘biochar’ word.

Ethics & Sustainability

A genuinely ethical and sustainable approach is at the heart of what we do.

Coppicing

Coppicing, is a traditional practice and the best form of woodland management, providing the habitat needed for a rich biodiversity of flora & fauna. Up to the mid 1800s Coppicing was the most widespread method of woodland management and the woodlands were alive with people and industry as charcoal burners, bark peelers and bodgers made their living from the woods. In the mid-twentieth century coppicing fell into decline and many coppice woods were re-planted with conifers or simply neglected. With this came the decline of native birds and butterfly species as well as traditional skills and crafts. We are lucky to have a rare ancient coppiced woodland, the land has been coppiced in the past but fallen to neglect, but by restoring the coppice we hope to reverse the decline in numbers of birds and butterflies. By creating enterprise and income from coppicing we can make this form of woodland management a sustainable practice once again.

Carbon Sequestration

Charcoal itself has, if it is not used for burning, been recognised an important contributor to reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere by sequestering carbon for hundreds, possibly thousands of years. Scientists estimate that increasing soil carbon by as little as 0.5% per year could offset 100% of the annual global emissions of CO2, which demonstrates just how important soil carbon is in the fight against climate change. If the wood used to make charcoal was burnt or left to decompose it would quickly give up all the carbon it has sucked out of the atmosphere during its life, so turning it into charcoal products such as biochar and animal gut health supplement effectively ‘locks up’ that carbon for the long term.

But that’s only half the story…. Good soil health and structure also plays a key role in reducing the CO2 naturally emitted from the soil due to erosion and other factors brought about by modern farming practices and a changing climate. Adding biochar to soil will help keep the soil healthy and therefore reduce further emissions of CO2

In the face of climate change it feels like a really positive action to be producing gardeners biochar and charcoal animal feed supplement – which not only directly benefits plants and animals but increases carbon sequestration.

Methane and Animals

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and therefore a significant contributor to global warming and climate change. Charcoal animal feed supplement has been shown to reduce methane emissions from animals so can therefore help to reduce its effect on global warming. Once the charcoal comes out of the other end it effectively becomes biochar for the soil with all the benefits that go with that.

Packaging

We have gone all out to make sure our packaging is the greenest possible option; sourcing local biodegradable materials where we can (See FAQ for more details)