Field with windmills in background

What are Climate-Smart Soils?

You may be asking, what ARE climate-smart soils?

Climate-Smart Soils: A concept

The concept of climate-smart soils originated in the 2016 Nature paper by Paustian et al. The key is that soils have the capacity to sequester carbon and remove it from the atmosphere, thus helping the fight against climate change!

This depends on management, however. Soils also release greenhouse gases, especially agricultural soils which contribute a major share (37%) of agricultural emissions, mainly from carbon dioxide (CO­2) and nitrous oxide (N2O, which comes mostly from nitrogen fertilizer applied to the soil). Improved soil management can reduce these emissions by converting the CO2 taken up by plants into soil organic matter.

A pathway to implementation

Paustian et al. suggest a path from research and monitoring > practices to sequester carbon in the soil and reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions > policies and systems to support implementation. Our program aims to expose our scholars to all these steps, so that they can work at implementing real solutions!

Figure 3 from Paustian et al. 2016 paper showing Science and technology leading to climate-smart soil practices, with implementation considerations