Qvidja farm, the lighthouse of Carbon Action

3.2.2022

Qvidja, located in Parainen and owned by Ilkka Herlin and Saara Kankaanrinta, is the oldest manor in Finland. The Qvidja farm includes 140 hectares of field and 650 hectares of forest.

Herlin and Kankaanrinta are transforming the farm into regenerative farming. Their farming principles include cover crops, mixed cropping, organic soil amendments, crop rotation, agroforestry and rotational grazing (sheep, horses and cattle). Everything at the Qvidja farm is done keeping in mind the diversity of nature, carbon sequestration and the protection of the Baltic Sea.

Qvidja serves as an experimental farm, and as an intensive study site for Carbon Action research – it is a lighthouse for the whole Carbon Action platform.

Demonstrations, peer-to-peer learning and training

Qvidja − the farm area, field studies and the medieval stone castle − offers a unique and memorable place for visiting stakeholders. The place attracts even the busiest stakeholders, making it an excellent site to showcase good practices. At its best, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Qvidja hosted around 1000 visitors annually (media representatives, businesspeople, civil servants, decision-makers, researchers, farmers and advisors).

Carbon Action instructors Juuso Joona and Tuomas Mattila giving a presentation on soil structure for a group of stakeholders. Photo: Laura Höijer.

In Qvidja regenerative farming practices and healthy soil can be demonstrated for stakeholders to inspire change. The experimental farm has hosted for example the Finnish Parliament’s Agriculture and Forestry Committee just as well as the 100 Carbon Action farmers, engaging in peer-to-peer learning on regenerative farming. Starting in 2018, every year ’Save Our Soil’ SOS courses for various stakeholders are organized in Qvidja, luckily even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The SOS concept has provoked a lot of interest and has enticed people from a high level in business life, decision-making and media. Also, international reporters visited Qvidja when the EU Presidency of Finland was initiated.

Real-time research data from the fields

In Qvidja, Carbon Action researchers work together with farmers to ensure that research responds to the practical needs encountered in the fields. Scientific research is conducted for example on soil carbon sequestration. Atmospheric measurements and modeling are used for studying the fluxes and sequestration of carbon, as well as nanoparticles in the air. The observations from the fields in Qvidja, including the world’s first carbon sequestration forecast on grassland, are disseminated online through the Field Observatory.

Results show that the study field is carbon sink: 

Net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2 has been measured in agricultural grassland at Qvidja since May 2018. This grassland site focuses on the conversion from intensive towards regenerative agricultural management. According to the results, the field acted as a net carbon sink during all the measurement years.

Annual carbon balances from 4 May to 3 May:

2018-2019: -56 +-10 g C m-2 y-1

2019-2020: -86 +-12 g C m-2 y-1

2020-2021: -77 +-14 g C m-2 y-1

Fig. 1: NEE has been partitioned into respiration (Reco) of the field ecosystem, which includes the CO2 release from the respiration process of vegetation and soil organisms, and into gross primary production (GPP), i.e. CO2 fixation by plants. Negative values mean flux into the soil and positive values mean release from the ecosystem to the atmosphere. In monthly balances, the impact of carbon input as fertilisers and output as yields are taken into account (Fig by Laura Heimsch, Finnish Meteorological Institute).  

Text: Laura Höijer, Content Director, BSAG

For more information: Heimsch, L. et al. 2021: Carbon dioxide fluxes and carbon balance of an agricultural grassland in southern Finland, Biogeosciences, 18, 3467–3483, 2021 https://bg.copernicus.org/articles/18/3467/2021/bg-18-3467-2021.pdf

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