Unleashing Resilience: How Conservation Agriculture Transformed Tharaka Nithi

Introduction Tharaka Nithi, a county nestled in the heart of Eastern Kenya, is no stranger to the challenges a changing climate poses. For generations, its farmers have battled unpredictable rainfall, soil degradation, and food insecurity. However, amidst these difficulties, a…

Developing a Root Imagery Tool to Analyze Cover Crop Roots

Summer Research Experience Olivia Wallace, undergraduate at the University of Guelph This summer I have been working in Dr. Claudia Wagner-Riddle’s agricultural meteorology lab at the University of Guelph. Much of my summer has centered on constructing and testing a…

On Soil Carbon Sequestration in Canada’s Managed Soils

Internship Experience with Soil Conservation Council of Canada and Compost Council of Canada By Rebecca Johnson, MSc Graduate from the University of Guelph Carbon sequestration has been a hot topic recently, with companies investing in reforestation with worldwide efforts to…

10 Lessons I Learned from the CREATE-CSS Core Course 2020

Reflective Essay Assignment By: Paige Kennedy, MSc Student at the University of Saskatchewan CREATE-Climate Smart soils is an interdisciplinary program that works to address climate change through soil science training. In the face of a changing climate, concerns about sustainability…

We are a national program with an international team of scholars

Local research program? Nope. We represent over half the world’s continents Within five months of its first year, CREATE-CSS has already brought together students and researchers from around the world. Between our first 12 students, we have representation from North…
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