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Soil Ecology Workshop with Dr. Christine Jones

December 13, 2017 @ 9:00 am - December 14, 2017 @ 4:00 pm

$25 – $150

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Soil Ecology for restoring soil fertility, plant health, and sequestering carbon.

Workshop Details

Join us for a 2-day workshop with renowned soil ecologist, Christine Jones at Paicines Ranch on Wed. Dec. 13 through Thurs. Dec. 14., with an additional offering for workshop attendees to enjoy a ‘farm-to-table’ dinner on the first night, Wednesday, Dec. 13 at the ranch. Both days start at 9 am and end at 4 pm. Workshop includes a local and fresh lunch. Please register separately if you’d like to join in on the Wednesday evening dinner. Student discounts and a limited amount of scholarships are available.


For questions and scholarships, contact Elaine at elaine@paicinesranch.com.

Lodging at Paicines Ranch

Workshop registration does not include lodging. To book a stay at the ranch, please contact Event Coordinator, Mary at mary@paicinesranch.com or call the ranch office at (831) 628-0288 x24. Private rooms with private baths on the ranch can be booked online at the Paicines Ranch Airbnb site.

Workshop Description

Understanding and working with soil ecology offers perhaps the greatest potential for creating regenerative agricultural systems. This two-day workshop with Dr. Christine Jones will offer an in-depth and practical understanding of:

  • The role of mycorrhizal fungi, bacteria, and other microbes in sequestering carbon
  • Increasing soil nutrient availability and plant health
  • Increasing nutrient density of crops
  • Increasing resilience of soil in an unpredictable climate
  • Reducing off-farm fertility inputs by optimizing photosynthesis
  • Principles and applications to support stable soil carbon sequestration

Christine’s teaching style is interactive, dynamic, and draws from a truly amazing depth of understanding of soil ecology. She has a unique ability to make complex systems easily understandable and relevant and has been one of the most powerful influences on the success of our management practices here at Paicines Ranch.

In particular the following topics will be covered over the two days of the workshop:

• Superhighways of the soil: the magic of mycorrhizal networks

An aspect of plant community structure that is gaining increased research attention is the presence of ‘common mycorrhizal networks’ (CMNs) in multi-species cover crops, cash crops grown with companion plants and high-diversity pastures. It has been found that plants in communities assist each other by linking together in vast underground superhighways through which carbon, water and nutrients are exchanged. Common mycorrhizal networks increase plant resistance to pests and diseases as well as enhancing plant vigor and improving soil health through increased rates of carbon sequestration.

• Soil carbon: from microbes to mitigation

Stable soil carbon sequestration is a synergistic biophysical process involving interactions between a wide range of functional groups within the soil microbiome. Many of today’s common agricultural practices simplify ecosystems, resulting in the loss of the diversity required for stable sequestration. Declining levels of stable soil carbon in turn create negative climate feedbacks at local, regional and global scales. Although the stabilization of carbon occurs at the nanoscale in microbial hot-spots, the creation of suitable microsites is dependent on broader landscape processes underpinned by regenerative land management techniques. Practical steps that can be taken to support stable soil carbon sequestration will be discussed.

• Nitrogen: the double-edged sword

The use of inorganic nitrogen in agriculture is recognized as a highly inefficient – and polluting – practice. Globally, over $100 billion of nitrogen fertilizers are applied to crops and pastures every year. Between 10 and 40% of the applied nitrogen is taken up by plants. Much of the remaining 60% to 90% is returned to the atmosphere as ammonia or nitrous oxide – or leached to aquatic ecosystems as nitrate. Due to its high mobility, inorganic nitrogen has become a key stressor for terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments. This session will explore how a whole-farm approach to the restoration of soil biodiversity can replace the need for inorganic nitrogen fertilizers.


December 13, 2017 @ 9:00 am
December 14, 2017 @ 4:00 pm
$25 – $150


Paicines Ranch