Research Areas

Soil Carbon Sequestration

Research Highlights

Understanding when and where cover crops build soil carbon, and how other management factors like tillage, planting date, and termination influence soil carbon stocks in temperate climates.

Organic amendments, like compost, can increase soil carbon sequestration rates in grasslands, but this potential may depend on water availability and plant community composition. There are also important remaining questions about how practices aimed at building soil organic carbon may impact dissolution and loss of soil inorganic carbon.

Livestock, Biodiversity, & Climate Change

Research Highlights

Ruminant livestock are one of the leading anthropogenic sources of methane, a potent short-lived climate pollutant. Actions to reduce enteric methane from ruminants can deliver powerful climate benefits within a few decades and contribute directly to limiting global temperature rise.

Livestock production impacts biodiversity through changes in habitat structure, quality, and connectivity. However, these impacts are often missing from sustainability evaluations of livestock management systems.

Models and Decision-Support Tools

Research Highlights

Integrating empirical research on soil natural climate solution pathways into soil biogeochemical models and systems analysis tools will help us understand under what conditions to scale these practices at the regional and global levels consistent with international climate commitments.

Greenhouse gas decision-support tools, many of which rely on soil biogeochemical models, are critical for engaging decision-makers and learners about climate change and agriculture.

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”

— Rachel Carson, Silent Spring