Author: Savory Institute
Regenerating the health and productivity of our soils is critical for ensuring the Earth’s climate remains conducive to not only human life but other species as well. Moreover, we need to take direct action so that we have enough water and food to sustain a growing population of people. Livestock, properly managed, have a critical role to play in achieving these goals.
Reducing fossil fuel emissions is essential for curtailing the acidification of our oceans and for reversing the rapidly increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But it is just as critical that we greatly reduce the CO2 emissions tied to modern agricultural practices. In addition, there are still many billions of tons of CO2 in the atmosphere that need to be drawn down to Earth and safely stored if we are to maintain a livable climate for life on Earth.
The most obvious place to store this “legacy load” of CO2 is in our soils, where soil organisms convert it into organic matter, or soil organic carbon. The world’s soils, however, are unable to store the vast amounts of carbon they once did; scientists estimate our soils have lost up to 80 to 537 billion tons of carbon and that land misuse accounts for 30% of the carbon emissions entering the atmosphere.
Efforts to limit emissions from fossil fuel Combustion alone are incapable of stabilizing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Here we will shed light on the process of atmospheric carbon capture and storage that has developed in the natural world over millions of years, has minimal possibility for unintended consequences, and has myriad benefits for the health of lands worldwide as well as all dependent on them.
The quantity of carbon stored in soils is directly related to the diversity and health of soil life. Bacteria, fungi and other soil life convert carbon that plants have extracted from the atmosphere through photosynthesis into organic matter. When soils are healthy, soil life is healthy and more carbon is converted and stored.