Christine Jones: new paper on soil carbon in Australia

Australian soil scientist Christine Jones has a new paper out that summarizes much of her conclusions about the soil carbon opportunity. "For some time, analysts have tipped carbon to become the world’s most traded commodity.

Allan Yeomans on climate change and soil

Allan Yeomans, author of Priority One: Together We Can Beat Global Warming has a series of videos on climate change and soil. Here are Parts 1 and 2.


In general, statistical accuracy increases with the square root of sample size. Doubling your sensitivity and accuracy quadruples your cost. It's a power law, not a normal distribution, and it pushes us toward extremes.

In measuring soil carbon using traditional sampling, what this means is that the high achievers are easiest and cheapest to measure (circled red in the diagram below). A sampling scheme that is adequate for measuring a large change in soil carbon between an initial baseline and resampling, may not yield a significant result if the change turns out to be small.

Allan Savory interview

An excellent interview of Allan Savory by Jonathan Teller-Elsberg deals with the difference between reductionist research and process-oriented management, and brittle and nonbrittle environments. Savory discusses why reductionist research and conventional paradigms limit innovation.

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.

Lessons from the loess plateau in China

Filmmaker John Liu has documented the World Bank's $500 million loess plateau watershed rehabilitation project since it began in 1995. He has made at least two compelling films about the project, including a 22-minute version was shown at the recent Copenhagen climate conference, and a more detailed 52-minute version.

Watch the films here:

Soil Association report

The UK Soil Association has a wide-ranging and thorough report on the potential of agriculture to increase soil carbon. Highly recommended as a broad overview of the soil carbon opportunity

Map of measured soil carbon change

This is a mapping project for measured changes in soil carbon content over time (as well as Soil Carbon Challenge entries, in yellow). The purpose is not to aggregate "offsets" or to make broad predictions, but to show what's possible as verified by actual measurements. When the purpose is to show what is possible, rather than to generate a broad-scale prediction or quantify carbon offsets, questions of statistical reliability are less troubling.

How To Take CO2 Out of the Sky

Allan Savory on desertification and climate change

Allan Savory gave this talk in Ireland in November 2009. About 58 minutes.


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