Measurement and monitoring

Monitoring, estimating, and measuring soil carbon and soil organic matter. For the latest version of Measuring Soil Carbon Change: a practical, flexible, local method, click here

DRAFT greenhouse gas calculator for grass-based cattle ranches, v.0.2

Here is a simple draft greenhouse gas calculator for grass and cattle producers, in Microsoft Excel format. This calculator differs from many in that it recognizes that soil, and soil biology, is a principal factor influencing the composition of the atmosphere. To judge or quantify such effects, site-specific measurements are needed, such as changes in soil carbon levels over time.

Holistic planned grazing article

RANGE magazine has a good article by Chris Gill and Allan Savory.

Christine Jones presents at Queensland Landcare Conference

Dr Christine Jones keynote presentation at the 2008 Queensland Landcare Conference, "Sustainability by Design", September 22, 2008, at Monto, Queensland, Australia. For more video visit Camera by Beryl and Cec Bleys, Monto History Centre. Video and Web Production by eco2oh and THINKeEXTENSION.

Christine Jones has spent 20 years working on the soil carbon opportunity. She is the founder of ASCAS, the Australian Soil Carbon Accreditation Scheme.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Garnaut stresses importance of measurement

Says Prof. Ross Garnaut in Australia, who heads an independent commission on climate change commissioned by Australia's Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments:

Measuring or estimating soil carbon

How do you measure or estimate soil carbon?

Here are some handbooks

1. Peter Donovan. Measuring soil carbon change: a flexible, practical, local method. 2010. A basic guide for do-it-yourselfers and the method for the Soil Carbon Challenge. Includes planning worksheet and plot data sheets.

2. Pearson, Timothy, Sarah Walker, and Sandra Brown. 2006. Sourcebook for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry Projects. Winrock International. (661 K pdf file; right click and "save link as" to download)

Winrock also has a sampling cost calculator available from

3. Stolbovoy, V., Montanarella, L., Filippi, N., Jones, A., Gallego, J., and Grassi, G. 2007. Soil sampling protocol to certify the changes of organic carbon stock in mineral soil of the European Union. Version 2. European Commission, Joint Research Centre. ISBN 978-92-79-05379-5

summary poster:

4. McKenzie, N., Ryan, P., Fogarty, P., and Wood, J. 2000. Sampling, measurement, and analytical protocols for carbon estimation in soil, litter, and coarse woody debris. Australian Greenhouse Office, Technical Report 14.

5. Harnessing Farms and Forests in the Low Carbon Economy: How to create, measure, and verify greenhouse gas offsets edited by Zach Willey and Bill Chameides, Duke University Press, 2007.

Liquid, mycorrhizal carbon not often recognized

Christine Jones published an article in the Australian Farm Journal that may help to explain why the assumption is widespread among agricultural scientists that soil carbon cannot be increased quickly. The Roth C model, for example, ignores the role of mycorrhizal soluble carbon, focusing entirely on biomass input for humification:

Canadian prairie soils: historical perspective by Henry Janzen

A fascinating and detailed paper by Henry Janzen of the Lethbridge research station in Alberta. Early researchers noted a loss of organic matter and nitrogen availability upon cultivation.


Australia is currently the world leader in the recognition of the soil carbon opportunity, and the development of carbon markets that include soil carbon.

Amazing Carbon is Christine Jones's site with lots of good papers and presentations. A good place to start is this 4-page pdf file.

Jeff Baldock's slideshow on soil carbon accounting and measurement

Some of Michael Kiely's blog sites:


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