The thinking behind regenerative practices as a climate mitigation strategy is to remove carbon dioxide from the air by storing it as organic carbon in soils. While practices like adding manure can increase soil carbon, the feasibility of scaling such practices over large areas to substantially increase soil carbon and mitigate climate change is much less clear.
Several challenges include:
• Uncertain benefits
There’s a limited scientific understanding of what keeps soil carbon sequestered, and, as a result, uncertainty about whether regenerative practices actually sequester additional carbon. For example, there is an active scientific debate about whether no-till, the primary practice relied upon by proponents of regenerative agriculture to generate climate benefits, actually increases soil carbon when properly measured.
• Faulty carbon accounting
Carbon must be added to soils to increase soil carbon, and this carbon must ultimately come from plants that absorb carbon from the air. But if the direct sources of carbon would have otherwise been stored or used elsewhere, it simply moves carbon from one place to another, achieving no additional reduction in emissions. For example, manure is filled with the carbon and nutrients absorbed originally by plants and eaten by animals. For that reason, adding manure to a field increases soil carbon where it is applied.
Regenerative farming is a farming system that focuses on healthy, mineral-rich, and biologically-diverse soils that grow mineral-rich food along with improving soils, crops, and the livelihoods of the farmers. Regenerative farmers also do everything they can to get the soil healthy and mineralized. This not only leads to healthier crops but builds organic matter and good structure in the soil and builds soil resilience.
09-Jan-2021 | Answer by: Ram