Increasing Soil Carbon in New Zealand soils

Aim: Develop strategies that result in maximum levels of soil carbon

What does success look like?

Proven strategies to increase soil carbon stocks

How will we get there?

  1. Field testing of potential management regimes
  2. Develop models and analyse scenarios for short and long term effects
  3. Identify soil properties and management practices that affect soil carbon stabilisation

What input is needed?

Science is needed to identify soil properties and management practices that most affect soil carbon stabilisation.

Commercial input it needed to promote proven strategies via industry and to ensure management practices are included in a soil carbon accounting framework.

What's the timeline?


Lead research partners

Landcare Research
AgResearch Limited

Latest progress

"MANAGEMENT PRACTICE IMPACTS ON SOIL CARBON: On-going field trials measuring a range of factors related to carbon measurements have shown that:

  • diverse sward has more root biomass and turnover but it is not possible to determine whether this would translate to increased carbon inputs to soil
  • large carbon inputs following pasture renewal events that is available for stabilization
  • minimising the period between spraying off pasture, reseeding and pasture reemergence minimises the immediate loss of carbon particularly when soils are wet."

"MORE POTENTIAL THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT FOR INCREASING NZ SOIL CARBON STOCKS: During the past year soil sampling, measurement and statistical analyses have improved a soil carbon stabilisation model.

We have confirmed that allophane-rich and non-allophanic soils behave differently with allophane rich (and gley) soils having the potential to store 25% more carbon than non-allophanic soils. We are using this finding to obtain improved estimates of how much more carbon NZ’s pastoral soils can potentially store."

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