The soil needs carbon

For the sake of both the climate and soil fertility, it is necessary to maintain or increase the carbon content in the soil. Aarhus University researchers are taking part in a new international project to develop and disseminate knowledge in this area.

2017.12.05 | Michael Strangholt

(Photo: Colourbox)

Carbon is the basis of all life on Earth. Storing carbon in arable land ensures soil fertility and contributes to reducing agricultural climate impact. The question is how to ensure that the carbon content of the soil is sufficient. The CIRCASA project will study this and support the work to be carried out at iClimate – Aarhus University’s new research centre. iClimate will create new knowledge about the climate for the benefit of both industry and society.

“We’ll study the potential – as considered by stakeholders – of managing carbon in the soil to contribute to climate adaptation, the reduction of greenhouse gases, the sustainability of farming, food supply, and the United Nations target for sustainable development. We’ll then identify and evaluate opportunities for implementing methods to store carbon in the soil,” explains Section Manager and Professor Jørgen E. Olesen, Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University.

This subject will be addressed in the new international research project with the participation of scientists at the Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University, along with twenty-two other partners from seventeen countries around the world. The aim of the project is to map where there are gaps in the research landscape concerning the storage of carbon in arable land, thereby preparing an international research agenda.

“Based on stakeholder input, we’ll sum up where there’s a lack of knowledge and what’s required regarding new research,” says Professor Olesen.

The stakeholders in this context include authorities, financial institutions, research and education institutions, agriculture, forestry, companies and interest groups.

Professor Olesen and other researchers at Aarhus University are taking part in a number of projects and initiatives with a view to optimising the carbon content in the soil regarding both soil fertility and emissions of greenhouse gases. Three of the latest research projects are SmartSoil, CarbonFarm and SoilCare. These focus on increasing carbon storage in the soil using a number of tools with a view to improving soil fertility.

The work can continue at iClimate
On 5 December 2017, Aarhus University is opening a new strategic research centre called the Interdisciplinary Centre for Climate Change (iClimate). The centre will gather a wide range of researchers and strong research groups that already exist at the university, thereby supporting the important work of providing society and industry with in-depth knowledge about the extent and importance of climate change for a considerable number of important societal and business critical areas.

For more information, please contact
Professor Jørgen E. Olesen
Department of Agroecology
Aarhus University
+45 4082 1659
jeo@agro.au.dk

Read more about the strategic research centre – iClimate – here.

Public / media