The Earth Partners believes significantly scaling up carbon sequestration in soils should be a priority for addressing both of these challenges.
What is soil carbon?
Soil is one of the largest stores of carbon on earth, with the top meter of soil globally holding more than three times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Carbon is sequestered in the soil by promoting inputs of plant and animal materials that decompose over time, such as crop residues, leaf litter, roots, and small organisms. Carbon-rich soil is better able to support healthy landscapes, higher agricultural yields, and diverse plant and animal communities.
Intensive agricultural practices like tilling of cropland, livestock overgrazing grasslands, and deforestation have had a significant impact on soil carbon levels worldwide – research estimates that a natural grassland loses 30 percent of its original soil carbon after 60 years of crop cultivation.
The Earth Partners’ Soil Carbon Methodology
To quantify the full potential of promoting soil carbon through Conservation Biomass and other business models, The Earth Partners has developed a comprehensive Soil Carbon Quantification Methodology, in partnership with Applied Ecological Services, validated by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). It has been tested and refined on-the-ground on over twenty sites across several countries. The method is measurement-based, making important strides and building on previous model-based methods for quantifying soil carbon. The Earth Partners has also developed a streamlined process to screen, stratify, sample, and calculate soil carbon levels at a high confidence level, allowing strong validation of our environmental claims and supporting accurate lifecycle greenhouse gas accounting.
Policy engagement: The Land Carbon Policy Roadmap
Soil carbon investments will only be scalable with supportive policy.
The Earth Partners has partnered with DC-based NGO Forest Trends to develop a long-term policy strategy for increasing land carbon sequestration. Emily McGlynn, The Earth Partners’ Director for Strategy and Policy, was lead author of Building Carbon in America’s Farms, Forests, and Grasslands: Foundations for a Policy Roadmap.
This work heavily influenced the U.S. Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization, a set of recommendations for policy, research, and innovation that will allow the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.