Carbon Farming Offers Real Solutions to Climate Change
There is a new way to fight climate change taking root in Northern California called carbon farming. Supported by California’s Healthy Soils Initiative with grants and training assistance, carbon farming is the practice of preserving local topsoils and maximizing the carbon sequestered in them.
Due largely to industrial farming practices, global topsoil levels have fallen by half over the last 150 years. With this disappearance of topsoil, we’ve come to learn that the embedded CO2 within it has been released into the atmosphere and that the soil itself can act as an enormous carbon sink when treated properly. By minimizing soil disturbances (for instance, by leaving soil untilled), we can actually draw down carbon from the atmosphere and put it to good use where it belongs: in the soil. Call it carbon farming.
The nonprofit Marin Carbon Project has been a pioneer in carbon farming. Working in conjunction with UC Berkeley, the Project has found that adding ½” of compost to the soil increased soil carbon by one ton (or 40%) per hectare. And astonishingly, that the amount of soil carbon continued to increase by the same rate year after year without adding more compost.
This increase in carbon sequestered in the soil is not just good news for the atmospheric CO2 levels that continue to speed up climate change – soil carbon is also beneficial to the microbial life that’s part of any healthy soil structure. So the benefits of carbon farming are both practical and altruistic. Torri Estrada, executive director of the Carbon Cycle Institute, says carbon farming “can improve on-farm productivity and viability, enhance ecosystem functions, and stop and reverse climate change.”
To read more, check out the full article on carbon farming on The Bohemian’s website.