Science

The cornerstone of MCP’s mission is to identify, evaluate, and promote on-farm carbon beneficial practices.  In partnership with the UC Berkeley Silver Lab and UC Cooperative Extension, MCP has conducted research on the effects of riparian restoration (e.g., replanting denuded stream corridors) and amending rangeland soils with compost on soil carbon and other ecosystem services.  In addition, MCP has partnered with the USDA-NRCS and Natural Resources Ecology Lab at CO State U to build out the on-farm GHG planning and estimation tool COMET-Planner.

Do Rangeland Systems Have a Potential to Mitigate Climate Change?

Management practices that conserve and enhance carbon storage in rangeland soils and vegetations, as well as prevent losses to the atmosphere, can help mitigate climate change while enhancing sustainability under future climate scenarios.
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Can Land Management Enhance Soil Carbon Sequestration?

A single application of composted green waste significantly increased forage production (40-70%) and soil carbon sequestration (on average 1 metric ton of carbon per hectare per year) over three years.  Compost increased soil water holding capacity, and provided nitrogen and other nutrients in an organic form, leading to increased plant production, increased soil carbon sequestration and improved forage quality.  Many other common NRCS conservation practices are also known to increase soil carbon sequestration.
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What are the Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Implications of Compost Application on Rangelands? 

Composting of manure and plant waste produces less greenhouse gas emissions than manure stored in anaerobic lagoons or greenwaste buried in landfills.  Compost applications produce only incidental quantities of GHG when compared with either the application of manure slurries or the application of inorganic N fertilizer across a broad range of environmental and management conditions. 
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Do California Annual Grassland Soils have a High Soil Carbon Sequestration Potential?  

A statewide survey of rangeland soil carbon content showed a significant range in soil carbon content across California. In a comprehensive survey of Marin’s agricultural soils, carbon content was found to vary from a low of about 50 tons per hectare to a high of about 250 tons per hectare.  High carbon sites had a history of manure applications, highlighting the potential for significant soil carbon increases with management.  
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Soil Carbon Modeling: What are the Daycent and Century Models?

The Century and Daycent Models are the leading models used by the global scientific community to forecast soil dynamics and carbon stocks in different ecosystems (including grasslands and agricultural soils) under varying management and land use regimes.  The models are used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to establish GHG emissions and soil carbon pools in its periodic reports on climate change.
IPCC 5th Assessment Report >>