Soil Carbon Content Assessment

Project category: 
Research & Development

Costa Rica and New Zealand both recently committed to obligatory Greenhouse Gas (GHG) accounting across various sectors of industry including agriculture and further announced the introduction of a carbon and GHG emission based environmental tax scheme to be effective within the next years. The European Commission currently works on redefining its agricultural subsidy pillars, to be partly based in the future on payments for environmental services, taking into consideration GHG emissions and soil carbon sequestration.

Farming systems which aren’t able to firstly, show their GHG emissions and secondly, have a comparably high carbon footprint due to high emissions and low carbon sequestration rates, will have to pay penalties or receive less subsidies. Vice versa, agricultural systems that document their GHG emissions with transparency and follow bio-dynamic farming practices and specifically due to sustainable soil management have a low footprint, will receive those payments for environmental services and will therefore have a competitive advantage.

Various CO2 assessments that had been conducted clearly show that, taking into consideration the carbon sequestration happening on bio-dynamic farms through sustainable soil management, the GHG emissions of bio-dynamically cultivated products are significantly lower – up to 50% less than comparable products. Since the beginning of the bio-dynamic movement, soil and compost management, stimulating soil life and product vitality, always played a key role. Now there are tools to quantify the environmental benefits through long-term and continuous caring about healthy and naturally fertile soils.

The objective of this project is to use these results, to harmonize and standardize the currently available soil carbon and GHG assessment tools in order to make them available to a broader audience for comprehensive and continuous carbon accounting in preparation to capitalize on the environmentally friendly best practices of bio-dynamic farming.