WHY CARBON FARMING MATTERS
Earth’s carbon is stored in five main pools: soils, ocean, atmosphere, biosphere, and fossils. Carbon flows between these pools in an exchange called the carbon cycle. Any change in the cycle that shifts carbon out of one pool puts more carbon in another pool. Currently, the carbon pools are far from balanced. There is too much carbon in the atmosphere, and not enough in our soils.
Even as we replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, the excess carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere. To mitigate the worst effects of climate change, we must also rapidly decrease, or sequester, the amount of carbon already in the atmosphere. The most effective mechanism for removing carbon from the air is photosynthesis. Certain agricultural practices enhance photosynthesis. This is carbon farming – a natural solution to carbon sequestration.
WHAT CEC IS DOING
Piloting Carbon Farming Implementation
CEC is leading the way on one of the most visible compost application research pilots in California, a part of 17 field trials currently being conducted by the National Resource Conservation Service and local Resource Conservation Districts. In November of 2016, ¼ inch of compost was applied to fields at the Ted Chamberlin Ranch, bringing carbon farming to Santa Barbara County. The pilot trial is testing for soil carbon sequestration, forage productivity, grassland species diversity, and numerous other variables.