Soil Health Policy: Developing Community-Driven State Soil Health Policy and Programs

This guidebook outlines the potential pathways and resources available to the broad range of stakeholders interested in soil health. Through interviews with experts in coalition-building, soil health, funding, stakeholder engagement and more we compiled best practices and guidance for creating community-driven soil health policy or programs at the state level.

Understanding Soil Carbon Science to Identify Strategies for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation

Disagreements drive science forward but can generate uncertainty for policy and practice. Soil scientists strongly disagree about whether soil carbon sequestration (SCS) can effectively help to decarbonize the atmosphere. The debate has spread beyond academia with some organizations making the case that meaningful drawdown of carbon through SCS in agricultural soils, achieved through adoption of regenerative agricultural practices, is not viable. Other organizations, by contrast, promote the same practices as necessary for natural climate solutions.

A previously published article in Nature Sustainability outlines the authors’ concerns that this conflicting messaging undermines efforts to restore soils to safeguard human and environmental well-being. We laid out technical research and knowledge supporting soil-based initiatives for climate adaptation of agriculture, provision of clean water, protection of biodiversity, and the sustainability of agricultural communities. We concluded the SCS debate does not undermine the substantive body of science supporting immediate, widespread adoption of practices protecting and restoring soil carbon.

Model Intercomparison of COMET-Farm, Cool Farm Tool, DNDC, and RothC

In this model intercomparison, I compare the carbon emissions data outputs of COMET-Farm, Cool Farm Tool, DNDC, and RothC using the same agronomic data inputs. The objective of this comparison is to provide a guide of the similarities and differences of tools quantifying carbon sequestration and greenhouse emissions on agricultural land. The project showed that for the Conventional treatment and the No-Till treatment, Cool Farm Tool, COMET-Farm, and DNDC elicited similar results. For the Biological treatment, the outputs differed by 163%, between the carbon sequestration output of COMET-Farm and the carbon emissions output of DNDC.

COMET-Farm Sensitivity Analysis Report

In this sensitivity analysis, I examine the impact of parameter changes on carbon sequestration within the COMET-Farm tool. The objective of this analysis was to provide a guide for users of the COMET-Farm tool on the relative importance of different COMET-Farm parameters for the purposes of generating future carbon sequestration estimates, e.g., for enrollment into soil carbon offset marketplaces. The project showed that certain parameters have no impact on carbon sequestration, namely yield and irrigation. Other parameter changes, such as tillage method and manure/compost application, produce more significant outputs in carbon sequestration numbers.