Soils now contain 3-7 times as much carbon as either the atmosphere or above-ground biomass.

Ranching and farming can both move very large amounts of carbon from the air into soils - IF done right.

'Total Decarbonization' of US Economy Would Create 25 Million Jobs 0820


Large Food Companies Look to Lock Carbon in Soils to Meet Emission Goals 0221

Planting Crops — and Carbon, Too 0121

Are Carbon Markets for Farmers Worth the Hype? 0920 - No, Indigo Ag, etc. 

Farms Can’t Save the Planet 0820 - Mostly, carbon farming and fast-rotation grazing move carbon into the top foot of soil from the 2 feet of soil below that top layer.

New Soil Models May Ease Atmospheric CO2, Climate Change 0720

Is Carbon Farming a Climate Boon or Boondoggle? 0620 - If more carbon in top 30 cm, correspondingly less in rest of top 2 meters.  Cost-effectiveness difficulties in measuring carbon added, so use algorithms instead.  No-till and cover crops good for other reasons, but not clear they actually add carbon (net) to soils.  Etc.

Is Carbon Sequestration on Farms Actually Working to Fight Climate Change? 0420

Methane-Eating Bacteria Could Help Cut Emissions from Thawing Permafrost 0320

Horizon Will Become the 1st ‘Carbon Positive’ National Dairy in the U.S. 0320

Fighting Climate Change from the Ground Up 1119

1st Auction of Sequestrated Soil Organic Carbon 1019

Can Big Ag Be Part of the Climate Solution? 0919

For a Sustainable Climate and Food System, Regenerative Agriculture Is the Key 0819

The Climate Emergency - Regenerate or Perish 0619

Can Soil Microbes Slow Climate Change? 0319

General Mills Has a Plan to Regenerate 1 Million Acres of Farmland 0319

Soil Ecologist Challenges Mainstream Thinking on Climate Change 0219

Farmers Start Field Trial for Carbon Capture with Fungi 1218

Put More Carbon in Soils to Meet Paris Climate Pledges 1218

Cornell Study Reveals Natural Solutions to Combat Climate Change 1118

Natural Climate Solutions, Including Farm Conservation, Can Reduce Global Warming 1118

Natural Climate Solutions Could Cancel Out 1/5 of U.S. Emissions 1118

Lowly In Stature, Fungi Play a Big Role In Regulating the Climate 0918

‘Natural Solutions’ in Focus as EU Hosts Climate Summit with China, Canada 0618

Mitigation Potential of Soil Carbon Management Overestimated by Neglecting N2O Emissions 0216

Could Soils Help Save the Climate? 0218

Unearthing the Secrets of Soil 1117

This Is Why, When You Talk about Climate Change, You Can’t Ignore Agriculture 0817
    Estimated loss since farming began is 133 billion tonnes of carbon.  Authors think we could regain 8-28 billion tons.

Soil Carbon Scheme a World-1st for South Australian and Victorian Farmers 0817

Next Decade Critical for Climate Targets 0517

Soil Microbes Hold Key to Climate Puzzle 0317 - Complex soil ecosystems harbor carbon sinks and sources.

Compendium of Scientific Findings Supporting Eco-Restoration to Address Global Warming 0417 - PDF 29 pp

Massive Tree Farms, Soil Carbon Sequestration May Be Really Bad Climate Ideas 0216
    Darkening soils and forests, from carbon sequestration, especially biochar, increases solar radiation absorbed.  $60 trillion ($30 trillion?) price tag to cut 50 ppm via rock dust / gravel is a lot of money (but less than warming damages?).  Dedicating soils to carbon sequestration may (probably not) make them unavailable for farming.  Problems with farming the oceans to sequester carbon via algae.

How the Soil World Sustains Plants by Their Roots.  Soil Is Key to Earth’s Future. 0522

The intricate fungi network works with trillions of specialized bacteria to send nutrients to plants roots, which the plants pay for (11-40% of all sugar prodution from photosynthesis).  Myriad creatures, from beetles, worms and insects, to mites to bacteria form an enriched ecosystem.  Farmer Iain Tolhurst in England has become a master of letting  the whole ecosystem boost his crop yields to high levels on “rubble” land without pesticides, herbicides, mineral treatments, animal manure, or any other kind of fertilizer.  Leave low green ground cover on the land 365 days a year.  And much more.

Giga-ton economy for future of farming: “Carbon capture with benefits” (Dean Houton Feb. 27, 2021 seminar)

C Sequester - Wolfe 0616 - PDF of PPT

at left, up to $20/T   $50/T   $100/T, good for 2-3 decades
from Paustian et al. 2016. Nature 532:49.

1st: Farming

Mostly immediately below

How Soil Carbon Can Help Tackle Climate Change 0519

The Key to Curb Climate Change?  Super Plants 0419

These Probiotics for Plants Help Farms Suck Up Extra CO2 - 0219

‘Carbon Farmers’ Are Newest Recruits in California’s War on Climate Change 0918

How Did Farmer Brown Bring His Dying Land Back from the Brink? 0918

Missouri Farms Hold Big Potential as Carbon Storehouse 0718

Can Carbon Farming Reverse Climate Change? 0718

Facing Climate and Water Pressures, Farmers Return to Age-Old Cover Cropping 0518

Cropping, Population Boost Carbon Sinks 0418

Plants Are Great at Storing CO2.  Scientists Aim to Make Them Even Better. 0418

Adding Crushed Volcanic Rock to Farm Soil Could Boost Crops and Slow Global Warming 0418

Farming with Crops and Rocks to Address Global Climate, Food and Soil Security 0218 - add crushed, fast-reacting silicate rocks to soils

No-Till Farmers’ Push for Healthy Soils Ignites a Movement in the Plains 0218

New Healthy Soil Guide Gives Cooks a Better Recipe for Climate Change 1217

Better Soil Could Trap as Much Planet-Warming Carbon as Transport Produces 1117

Switching to Organic Farming Could Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions 1117

Nature Is One of the Most Under-Appreciated Tools for Reining in Carbon 1017

Why the Way We Manage the Carbon Bio-Flux Matters 1017

Study Shows Organic Farming Traps Carbon in Soil to Combat Climate Change 0917

This Is Why, When You Talk about Climate Change, You Can’t Ignore Agriculture 0817
    Estimated loss since farming began is 133 billion tonnes of carbon.  Authors think we could regain 8-28 billion tons.

Indonesian Farmers Befriend Soil to Protect Harvests from Climate Stress 0617

Solutions - Carbon Farming & Cutting Food Waste Don’t Require Trump Buy-in 0617

Surprising News about Deep Soil Carbon 0217 0.9 tons / acre in no-till maize and switchgrass plots, mostly 1-5 feet deep.  Best results with cover crop (stover) remained atop soil and 107 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer per acre.  Agricultural Research Service studies

The Search Is On for Pulling Carbon from the Air 1216 - emphasis on CCS, also spread silicates onto farmlands

White House Releases Climate Change Plan Before Trump Takes Office 1116

Prince Charles Joins Clean Soil Project to Combat Climate Change1016

Ancient Farming Practice Produces More Food, Less Pollution 1016

Looking to the Earth Itself as a Climate Solution 0916

Iowa Farmers Ripped Out Prairie.  Now Some Hope It Can Save Them. 0816

Michigan Scientists See Urgency for Negative Emissions 0816

How the World’s Most Fertile Soil Can Help Reverse Climate Change 0716 - terra preta, from Amazon & W Africa

How Africans Are Saving Their Own Soil 0616

How Soil Microbes Fight Climate Change 0516

Regenerating Degraded Dirt 0316 - More and more farmers are using no-till and cover crops - to prevent erosion, improve soil’s water retention, and improve nutrient availability (cutting down use of artificial fertilizers).  Sequestering carbon (4/1000 Initiative) is a side benefit.

Cover Crops – a Farm Revolution with Deep Roots in the Past 0216

Massive Tree Farms, Soil Carbon Sequestration May Be Really Bad Climate Ideas 0216
    Darkening soils and forests, from carbon sequestration, especially biochar, increases solar radiation absorbed.
$60 trillion ($30 trillion?) price tag to cut 50 ppm via rock dust / gravel is a lot of money (but less than warming damages?).
Dedicating soils to carbon sequestration may (probably not) make them unavailable for farming.
Problems with farming the oceans to sequester carbon via algae.

Healthy Ground, Healthy Atmosphere - Recarbonizing the Earth’s Soils 0216

Improving Soils Cuts Carbon and Grows More Food 1215

Dirt, a Secret Weapon to Fight Climate Change 1215

Does industrial Agriculture Actually Yield More Food per Acre than Organic? 1015 - yes, but no, and, but, maybe

The Dirt on Soil 1015 - a primer on how parts of soils function

Putting Down the Plow in Oklahoma 1015

Farms Hold the Key to Absorbing Carbon and Fighting Climate Change 0715

A 3rd Way to Fight Climate Change 0715

Cover Crops Can Store 4 Tons of Carbon per Acre 0515

Tillage and Cover Cropping Affect Crop Yields and Soil Carbon in the San Joaquin Valley, California - PDF
    Summary article is below.  Using no-till plus a cover crop sequestered 0.29 more tons of carbon per acre per year (0.66 tonnes / hectare), than using neither.  No differences in fertilizer or pesticide treatment were noted in treatment or control. 

San Joaquin Valley Growers Seek Credit for Sequestering Carbon in Soils 0215 - summary of study above

Best Technology to Save the World Is Trees, Biochar and More Soil Carbon 0215

Can Biochar Fertilize Soil and Help Fight Climate Change? 0914

Old-School Farming Methods Could Save the Planet 0814

Altered Soil May Help Fight Global Warming 0814

How Organic Farming Can Reverse Climate Change 0414

Salamander’s Hefty Role in the Forest 0414

Can Farming Provide a Solution to Climate Change? 0813

Australia Coalition's Soil Carbon Plan 'Unviable' 0713

CO2 Reductions from Farming & Forestry - Smith 2013 - PDF, 48 pp

Scientist Finds Chemical Group That Helps Organic Soils Store More Carbon 0613

Fungi Pull Carbon into Northern Forest Soils 0413

Does Biochar Stay Put? 0413

King Corn Mowed Down 2 Million Acres of Grassland in 5 Years Flat 0213

Biochar Cookstoves Boost Health for People and Crops 0113  

Why the Government Should Pay Farmers to Plant Cover Crops 0113  

Carbon Stored in California’s Deserts 1212  

CO2 Sequestration Potential in Farm Soils: Abstract - Smith 2011

Siberian Herds Park Takes Carbon from Air 1210  

Carbon Sequester in Soils+ 0609

Storing Carbon in Forest Soils 0308  

Returning Carbon from Air to Soils 0308  

Reading List for Soil Carbon Sequestration 0308 

Moving Carbon from Air to Soil - Details 0308  

More CO2 Sequesters in Soil (Pine Plantations) 0207 - PDF

Sequestering Carbon in Farm and Forest Soil - Fact Sheet 2004?

Depositing Carbon in the Soil Bank 0201 - USDA

     "There is hope right beneath our feet. There is a technology for massive planetary geo-engineering that is tried and tested, and available for widespread dissemination right now.  It costs little and is adaptable to local contexts the world over.  It can be rolled out tomorrow, providing multiple benefits beyond climate stabilization.  The solution is farming.  Not just business-as-usual industrial farming, but farming like the Earth matters.  Farming like water and soil and land matter.  Farming like clean air matters.  Farming like human health, animal health and ecosystem health matters.  Farming in a way that restores and even improves on soil’s natural ability to hold carbon.  This kind of farming is called regenerative organic agriculture, and it is the short-term solution to climate change we need to implement today.”

     Field trials in the U.S., Egypt, Iran, and Thailand show carbon seqestration of 2.4 to 6.4 tonnes per hectare [0.87 to 2.34 tons per acre] per year.  "Even if modest assumptions about soil’s carbon sequestration potential are made, regenerative agriculture can easily keep annual emissions to within the desirable lower end of the 41-47 GT CO2e range by 2020.”

     Elements of regenerative organic farming include cover crops, residue mulching, composting, crop rotation, and conservation tillage.  Plants so treated sequester carbon in soils at depths to at least 80 cm, for decades to millennia.  Clay helps.  Mycorrhizal fungi are key players in the process, producing glomalin in which carbon is stored.  Yields of organic crop systems exceed those in artificial fertilized systems in times of drought, and they are more resilient in the face of greater weather variability.

     Rodlae's Farming Systems Trial, for 23 years since 1981, has shown that soil, under organic agriculture management, can accumulate about 1,000 pounds of carbon per acre foot of soil each year.  This accumulation is equal to about 3,500 pounds of carbon dioxide per acre, taken from the air and sequestered into soil organic matter.  When multiplied over the 160 million acres of corn and soybeans grown nationally, a potential for 580 billion pounds of excess carbon dioxide per year can be sequestered, when farmers transition to organic grain systems.
    Organic grain production systems increase soil carbon 15 to 28%.  Moreover, soil nitrogen in the organic systems increased 8 to 15%.  Decay rates differ for soil organic matter under different management systems.  In the conventional system, the application of soluble nitrogen fertilizers stimulates more rapid and complete decay of organic matter, sending carbon into the atmosphere instead of retaining it in the soil as the organic systems do.
    Soil microbial activity, specifically the work of mychorrhiza fungi, plays an important role in helping conserve and slow down the decay of organic matter.  Mychorriza fungi are more prevalent in the organic farm systems. These fungi work to conserve organic matter by aggregating organic matter with clay and minerals. In soil aggregates, carbon is more resistant to degradation than in free form and therefore more likely to be conserved.
    In conventional and organic farming systems, yields of corn and soybean were not different, except in drought years.  Then, organic systems yielded 25 to 75% more than the conventional system.  The organic yield advantage in drought years is specifically related to the ability of higher-carbon organic soils to capture and deliver more water to crop plants.

This may be our most important way to reduce CO2 levels in the air.

2nd: Grazing

Grass-Fed Cows Won’t Save the Climate, Report Finds 1017

Focus on Carbon Removal a ‘High-Stakes Gamble’ 0517

Boosting Water Table Can Curb Climate Risks 0217

White House Releases Climate Change Plan Before Trump Takes Office 1116

Earth Soaking Up Less Carbon than We Thought, So It Warms Up Even Faster 0916

Carbon Farming - Hope for a Hot Planet 0416

Dirt - a Surprising Ally in the Battle against Climate Change 0416

Farmland Could Play Key Role in Tackling Climate Change 0416

Improving Soils Cuts Carbon and Grows More Food 0116 - for farming AND ranching

Dung Beetles Are Climate Heroes! 1215

Why Tom Steyer's Latest Climate Change Fight Involves Raising His Own Cattle 1015

Emerging Land Use Practices Rapidly Increase Soil Organic Matter 0415 - abstract.  8 Mg / year / hectare

Emerging land use practices rapidly increase soil organic matter | Nature Communications - weblink to full article

Obama Tackles Agriculture’s Role in Climate Change - Why That’s a Big Deal 0415 - legal & budget; grazing mentioned

Perennial Crops May Save Human Civilization 0415

Is Grass-Fed Beef Really Better for You, the Animal and the Planet? 0215

Scientists Urge Global ‘Wake-up Call' to Deal with Climate Change 0215

How Lowly Termites Save Grasslands for Lions, Elephants, and People 0215

Marin County Rancher Sees Compost as Miracle Cure for Climate Change 1114

Chevrolet Supports Grassland Preservation Program 1114

Microbe Turnover Offsets Soil New Carbon Storage - Sulman 1114 - PDF

Microbes, Roots & Soil Carbon - Wieder 1114 - PDF

Sprinkle of Compost Helps Rangeland Lock up Carbon 1014

Models ‘Underplay Plant CO2 Absorption' 1014

Wide, Brown Land Becomes a Home to Carbon Farming 0814

Carbon Mapping Trial Announced for Pilbara Cattle Station 0314

Soil as Carbon Storehouse- New Weapon in Climate Fight? 0314

As Biochar Uses Expand, Climate Benefits Still Uncertain 0114

Researchers Find Fungus That Can Boost Soil Carbon by up to 70% - 0114

No-Till Farming Is on the Rise.  That’s a Big Deal. 1113

Environmentalists Look to Carbon Markets to Slow Grassland Conversion 1113

The One Area Technology Cannot Save Us & 5 Little Things That Can 0913 - Holistic Managament links: eat grass-fed beef, eggs.  Video links are also in this article.

Australian Cattle Giant to Cash in Carbon Credits 0913

Carbon Capture and Renewable Energy Generation by Pyrolysis 0913

Meadowlands Valuable for Pulling CO2 from the Air 0813

More Cows — or Less?  Climate Strategies Point Opposite Ways 0813

     The picture is from a piece of land in Africa, the Karoo.  Holistic Management grazing is used to the left of the fence, as locals use methods taught by the Savory Institute.  Traditional modern grazing methods are used to the viewer’s right.

    Holistic Management involves grazing cattle (or buffalo, caribou, etc.) for short (~ 1 week) periods on a patch of land, then moving them to another patch.  (Sheep, and especially goats, should not be used, as they crop the grass too short.)  After several months of moving to one patch after another, they return to the original patch, then revisiting each patch in turn.  In the meantime, dung beetles move carbon (in dung) underground, while close-cropped perennial grass adds to its roots and sends up new shoots (as it does after a lawn is mowed).  The cattle hooves help break up the soil, so moisture and seeds can penetrate.  The soil stores more carbon in fungal networks, much of it in the form of glomalin.  The soil carbon results in soils soaking up 75-95% of rainfall, instead of 5-25% of rainfall in soils not treated (to viewer’s right of the fence.)

     This practice removes carbon from the air and stores it soil.  Moreover, the soil becomes a much better sponge for holding water.  A few of the articles (and 1 PPT) below address this practice and its results.

Allan Savory's TED talk, is shown below

This may be our most important way to reduce CO2 levels in the air.

     Estimates vary for how much carbon our soils can remove from the air, and how fast.  In 2001, US Department of Agriculture staff estimated (see below) that US farming and ranching practices move 20 million tons of carbon a year from air to soils, for $6 per ton of CO2 removed initially.  They also estimated that removal could be increased to 10 times as much, more than 10% of US carbon emissions, largely via changes in tilling practices (no-till, etc.)

Allan Savory Says Says More Cows on the Land Will Reverse Climate Change.  Science Says Otherwise. 0217

Partly, the article debunks a straw man: increased cattle per acre, but without fast rotation.  Good points - When you take cattle off the land to sell for meat, the land loses the nutrients on the hoof.  Replication has not been done.  Also, fallow (ungrazed) land recovers, eventually.  Also, cattle did not co-evolve with the driest rangelands.  Savory’s claims about how much CO2 can be removed may well be overblown, especially net of cows’ CH4 emissions.

How a Cow Can Help the Climate 0515 - one type of “rapid” rotation grazing; carbon sequestration is secondary.

Restoring Soil Carbon to Slow Climate Change - Savory 0413.pdf

Holistic Management Can Save Our Soils and Reduce CO2 Levels 0913 - For more detail, see study below.

Restoring Soil Carbon to Slow Climate Change - Savory 0413 - PDF, 20 pp
    Holistic Management practices can move 2.5 tonnes of carbon / hectare / year (= 1 ton / acre / year = 0.25 kg / square meter [sq m]) from the air to soils, maybe more, building soil in the process.  This would increase removal almost by another factor of 10, from USDA's 2001 estimates.  Applied to 4 billion hectares of degraded grasslands (rangelands) around the world (about 20% of Earth's land), this would move 10 billion tons (GT) of carbon from air to soils.  Changed grazing practices would do it, rather than changed tillage ones.  10 GT / year removal ~ current world carbon emissions.  The atmosphere holds almost 1,000 GT of CO2.  Thus, Holistic Management applied to the max could cut atmospheric CO2 levels by ~ 4 ppm / year, if we reduce our emissions to zero.
    For perspective, the top foot of 1 square meter of soil weighs 350-500 kg.  Typically, 1% to 12% of that is organic carbon.  So, soils (except deserts, see map at top of page) contain 4 to 60 kg of carbon / sq m.  That includes 8-20 in most of the US, Canada, Russia, Siberia, Europe and China.  That's less than permafrost soils, but more than most tropical rainforests.  In all, Holistic Management practices might increase soil carbon by 1-6% / year (& topsoil mass by 0.05% / year), while tillage changes can increase soil carbon 0.1-0.6% / year.

     However, soil microbes respire carbon to the air faster as soil warms.  This counters moving carbon from air to soils.

Soil Organic Carbon Content - Europe & World 2012 - PDF.

  Carbon % at left.  Tonnes / Hectare

Holistic Management: Move Carbon Back to Soil - Jim Laurie 0408 - PPT
    Extract 2 ppm (10 GigaTons of CO2) / year from the air by proper grazing on some 10 million square miles of rangeland.  That's half a ton of carbon / acre (1.1 tonnes of carbon / hectare) / year.  It would take 1-2 centuries to double the carbon content of treated soils.  In all, goes the plan, extract 80 ppm of CO2 from the air and return it to soils.  Pass 350 ppm on the way down, via 10GT CO2 / year moved to soils, by planned fast rotation grazing on marginal lands.  Decrease ocean dead zones, avoiding Canfield Ocean [very hot, anoxic, sulfur dominated] and a repeat of Permian Extinction.

     Allan Savory, founder of the Holistic Management Institute (which advocates fast (~ 1 week per pasture) rotation grazing on rangelands), says that a 0.5% increase in soil carbon in the world's degraded lands would remove 150 gigatonnes of carbon from the air.  That's 15 years of human emissions at current rates.

Section Map: Reversing Climate Change