Author: Blain Hjertaas
Carbon is becoming recognized as one of the most significant factors facing mankind. The Keeling observatory in Hawaii began measuring C02 in 1958. At that time the C02 level was 312 PPM. Today we have passed 400 PPM. Significant effort has been expended in talking about limiting future C02 emissions, but to this date no one has talked about reversing the process. The world will continue to warm unless the process is reversed.
Carbon is held in vegetation, soil, oceans and the atmosphere. We know the atmosphere can hold more but we are learning the consequences of this. The oceans hold the most but they are becoming more acidic as their load increases, causing alarm for coral ecosystems. The safe place to store carbon is to increase the organic content of the soil. Agricultural soils on the eastern prairies averaged 12% organic matter at settlement. Today these same soils are between 4-6%.
There is an increasing awareness in the world that something needs to be done about this issue. To date, there has been much discussion about how to limit the problem but nothing on how to solve it. This proposal is a solution.
The Soil Carbon Coalition has been measuring carbon change over time across North America. There are close to 300 sites being monitored with 30 in Western Canada. Some of the early indications are that increasing carbon content in soil is more rapid than originally thought. The first tests were done in 2011 and retested in 2014. All farms are located in South East Saskatchewan. The results ranged from a high of 48.85 tonnes per hectare per year of C02 sequestered to a low of 1.17 tonnes of C02 per hectare per year. This are a very small data set; however these types of findings are being observed world wide as regenerative farmers begin to learn about the benefits of farming in such a way as to return carbon to the soil.