What are the best methods of soil carbon sequestration?
At Carbon Sync, we believe that the best methods of soil carbon sequestration vary according to the context of the land being farmed. Most of the available science shows that multiple interventions implemented over the duration of the project can result in better business outcomes for your primary production. Examples of interventions include implementing the principles of Regenerative Agriculture and Holistic Management.
Soil carbon sequestration is an agricultural practice that involves the adoption of regenerative farming practices to increase the amount of carbon stored in the soil. In a nutshell, it enhances the ability of plants to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (via photosynthesis) and store it in the soil as organic matter. This process ultimately sequesters carbon in the soil, but in the process of doing so, it promotes soil health and structure, water retention and biodiversity, and can reduce soil erosion, pests and disease.
Soil carbon sequestration may be achieved by implementing specific farming practices, including:
- Cover Cropping, where cover crops are grown to protect and improve the soil between cash crop seasons. These crops are grown during fallow periods and can double as forage crops;
- Crop Rotation and Intercropping, which involve planting different crops on the same land in sequential or simultaneous seasons, respectively. These practices help to increase soil carbon levels by promoting the growth of plants with different root systems, which improves the soil structure and increases the amount of organic matter in the soil;
- Agroforestry, which involves growing trees and crops on the same land. Agroforestry is another method of increasing soil carbon levels by promoting the growth of plants with different root systems, root bacteria and fungi, leading to improved soil health; and
- Conservation Tillage, which involves reducing or eliminating the amount of tillage performed on the soil. Reduced tillage helps decrease the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere during ploughing or cultivating.
Farmers can implement these practices in different combinations depending on the specific conditions of the farm and the crops being grown. Soil carbon farming is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and farmers must choose practices appropriate for their particular situation.
Further information about soil carbon farming and sequestration is contained in this Carbon Sync Blog Post.