CLIMATE - SOIL - BALTIC SEA - BIODIVERSITY
Agricultural soil holds an enormous potential to mitigate climate change by storing carbon. Carbon Action Platform develops and researches ways of accelerating soil carbon sequestration and verifying the results scientifically. Increasing the soil carbon stock alongside food production is called carbon farming. Carbon farming is part of ‘regenerative agriculture’ which secures food production and revitalizes ecosystems. In Carbon Action scientists, farmers and companies work together to enhance carbon-storing regenerative agriculture.
Through carbon farming, farmers have the power to turn climate change around. Over a hundred carbon farmers are currently testing different farming methods on their fields throughout Finland. The farmers contribute with their own expertise and work closely with researchers and agricultural advisors.
In Carbon Action, world-class researchers look for ways to both store carbon permanently in the soil and verify the changes in carbon storage scientifically. Soil and microbial analyses, atmospheric measurements and modeling are used to study the fluxes and sequestration of carbon in test fields.
Corporate participation is essential to the mainstreaming of carbon sequestration in farmland and achieving the ambitious goals of Carbon Action. The Carbon Action business platform enables information exchange and mutual learning among researchers and businesses.
Climate change jeopardizes the wellbeing of ecosystems as well as humans, and threatens biodiversity. As biodiversity diminishes, so does ecosystems’ resilience towards changinc circumstances. Reducing emissions is necessary but it’s not enough. We must also remove carbon from the atmosphere. Plants and soil offer the solution! Plants sequester carbon by photosynthesis and healthy soil stores it permanently. Climate change can be mitigated by letting nature do its work!
Organic matter in soil, such as decomposing plant and animal residues, stores more carbon than plants and the atmosphere combined. Healthy soil is home for a diverse group of microbes, fungi and other soil organisms. They play an important part in maintaining soil health and storing carbon. During the last 150 years we have lost half of the planet’s topsoil. We are in a hurry to restore rhe soil in order to ensure food security and to store carbon back to where it belongs - under the earth.
The Baltic Sea suffers from severe eutrophication and poor oxygen conditions at the bottom of the sea. Eutrophication is also a threat to aquatic biodiversity. Climate change increases precipitation, which washes more nutrients from land and accelerates eutrophication. Agricultural practices that store carbon and restore soil health not only mitigate climate change, but also minimize nutrient loads from fields to waterways. The Baltic Sea also benefits from carbon farming!
Biodiversity is the cornerstone of life. An ecosystem rich in species is also more resilient to changing environmental conditions. Loss of biodiversity threatens humans and the planet because the life sustaining natural processes depend on diversity. In Carbon Action biodiversity is a goal and also a tool to increase carbon sequestration to agricultural soils. Diverse vegetation assimilates atmospheric CO2 efficiently and roots transport C into different depths in soil. Plant diversity supports diverse microbial communities that induce stable soil C formation. Increased soil organic matter content is essential for soil fertility and good yields.
I´m really impressed on how you have developed Carbon Action platform. And you have done it very pragmatic way, linking farmers and scientist into a living lab where you are working together and learning from each other. This is something we would like to promote in other countries.
INRA, 4/1000 and an author in IPPC Special report on Climate Change and Land
The health of soil, plants, animals, people and ecosystems is one and indivisible. Soil organic carbon is the strong determinant of the soil health. Thus, the Finnish initiative on soil carbon sequestration has a highly needed holistic concept. We need to engage scientists, farmers, consumers and governments to the work. The potential of soil has not yet been discovered. I am happy to be part of the global network working together, and look forward to following up with the Finnish team.
The Ohio State University. Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, USA 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner as part of IPCC, 2007
Transformational change in agriculture will require a combined approach based on the integration - in space and time - of science and farmer training. The restoration of healthy living soils, clean air, clean water and the production of nutrient dense food is essential to our quality of life. We need to acknowledge the roles of photosynthesis, liquid carbon, the soil microbiome and above and below-ground biological diversity in soil building and landscape function. The approach of the BSAG Foundation in bringing these diverse aspects together in the one project is ground-breaking.
Carbon Action pilot, funded by Sitra (2017-2019), has grown into a platform. The platform contains several funders and projects, and enables close cooperation among the projects. The platform brings together farmers, advisors, researchers, companies and decision-makers. The holistic approach has already evoked international interest.
At the Paris Climate Summit 2015, France presented a 4/1000 initiative: to increase the amount of soil carbon by 0.4 % annually in the first 30-40 cm of soil. According to their calculations, it would significantly reduce the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere related to human activities.. The initiative signed by Finland, and promoted by the Finnish Government Programme, is ambitious. Further research and practical experience on regenerative climate-smart agriculture is required to turn the initiative into action and to introduce the theme as a meaningful part of the EU’s common agricultural policy.
…the organic matter in soil, such as decomposing plant and animal residues, stores more carbon than plants and the atmosphere combined?
…the plants sequester carbon from the atmosphere and that microbes and fungi are needed to store it in the soil?
…we don’t yet know the true potential of storing carbon in the soil in agriculture? The current IPCC climate calculations on the potential of agriculture in sequestering carbon from the atmosphere are based on the presumption that agricultural practices continue as they have thus far.