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Soil Carbon Challenge updates and coverage

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First Challenge entry (October 2010)

April 2011

September 2011

November 2011

April 2012

Some of our media coverage

California Grasslands article, Spring 2011

Film, The Soil Solution

Hobby Farms, Vol. 12, Number 4 (July/August 2012) Mission: Carbon Capture, p. 56

Book, Cows Save the Planet by Judith Schwartz (Chelsea Green, 2013)

Selman Waksman's HUMUS: Origin, Chemical Composition, and Importance in Nature (1936)

Selman Waksman, a microbiologist who won the Nobel Prize in 1952 for the discovery of streptomycin, wrote this thorough and well-researched book on humus in 1936. It is available as a 21.6 mb pdf (text-searchable) download here.

Though the basics of carbon cycling, including microbial decomposition of soil organic matter and humus, had been established before, Waksman's work clarified the important roles of microbes in the formation and decomposition of soil organic matter. The book is a major milestone in the ongoing discovery of the carbon cycle.

"Humus plays a leading part in the storage of energy of solar origin on the surface of the earth."

John Todd on soil and the carbon cycle

John Todd, of Living Machines fame and the New Alchemy Institute, has an interesting essay on about the need for our urban and industrial society to understand the foundational role of soil, and the carbon cycle.

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.

"Successful new management developments and thinking of the last 60 years have been routinely 'killed' by the reductionist peer review process for example. Some have been adopted in name, but only after conversion to unsuccessful form to suit researcher paradigms and thus rendered useless. Some of the most successful management approaches and processes are simply ridiculed as anecdotal."

Posted 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

Fukuoka summarized

An excellent and trenchant summary of the principles underlying Masanobu Fukuoka's practice, which also describes biosphere process:

"Soil is created by living plants working with microorganisms, and by the plants' residues and the microorganisms' corpses after their death. Soil is drained of nutrients by cultivation, NOT by plants."

Albert Howard's Wheel of Life

Sir Albert Howard, in his An Agricultural Testament (1943), wrote of the Wheel of Life, the balance between growth and decay. The chapter "The Nature of Soil Fertility" is reproduced here:

Holistic planned grazing article

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

Performance criteria missing from US climate bill

Tim LaSalle at Rodale posted a nice piece in Treehugger pointing out the lack of performance criteria or monitoring in the US climate bill, and the high importance of monitoring.

"The best way to tell if a farmer’s fields are sequestering carbon is to measure annual changes in soil carbon."

Natural lawn mowers can benefit the carbon cycle

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