Welcome to Soil to Soil, a podcast connecting the dots in the lifecycle of clothing and material culture, brought to you by Fibershed. Each episode offers a look at how, and why, our community is working to cultivate fiber and dye systems that build soil and protect the health of our biosphere.
Today’s conversation dives in to the flows of the carbon cycle, from atmosphere to earth.
Join us in conversation with Rebecca Burgess, who is the founder and Executive Director of Fibershed, and Dr. Keith Paustian, professor of soil ecology at Colorado State University.
Dr. Keith Paustian’s research focuses on the greenhouse gas emissions related to agriculture, from crops to grasslands. He studies and assesses the carbon dynamics of soil, and potential of landscape management to draw atmospheric carbon down to earth and into the soil. As you likely know, human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for an excess of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, and the feedback loops from this carbon imbalance are changing our climate at unprecedented scale.
Globally, the world’s soils have lost 133 gigatons of carbon, which presents an opportunity for communities to restore soil carbon through landscape management. Dr. Paustian is one of the creators of the COMET-Farm tool, a whole farm and ranch greenhouse gas accounting system that uses scientific data to model the potential for farmers and ranchers in United States to maximize carbon drawdown.
In the last episode, we heard from Jim Jensen, a rancher and member of the Northern California Fibershed who is using landscape management choices to build soil carbon. How do we know the numbers associated with the Jim’s practices? COMET-Farm is the free, open-source tool that provides Jim, and many other farmers and ranchers, the data to pair with their practices.
- Keith Paustian research homepage at Colorado State University
- COMET-Farm: Whole Farm and Ranch Greenhouse Gas Accounting System
- COMET-Planner: Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Evaluation for NRCS Conservation Practice Planning
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service homepage
- Soil scientist Rattan Lal answers the question: how much carbon can we sequester in soils and vegetation?
- The potential of agricultural land management to contribute to lower global surface temperatures in Science Advances by lead author Allegra Mayer based on research by the Silver Lab
- The Paris Agreement, within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- Dr. Paustian serves on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Developing a Research Agenda for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration, which released a 2018 research agenda on Negative Emissions Technologies and Reliable Sequestration
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- Fibershed’s Climate Beneficial Wool program
- Learn more about carbon farming practices and incentives
Photo credits: the top image is Paige Green Photography of a Northern California Fibershed producer member ranch where carbon capture is being enhanced through several practices including prescribed grazing and 850 acres of no-till agriculture with multi species cover crop. Snapshot of Dr. Keith Paustian speaking on a Climate Beneficial Wool panel with Carol Shu from The North Face, via At The EpiCenter; infographic by Fibershed using Paige Green Photography.
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