Soil Carbon

Increasing the quantity of carbon stored in agricultural soils has the potential to offset emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, while soil carbon losses would further add to those emissions.

However, realising this mitigation potential is technically challenging when soil carbon stocks are already high (as they are in New Zealand), potential changes in soil carbon are small and spatial variability is high.

The current NZAGRC programme has three distinct components:

(1) testing specific management practices that may increase the long term soil carbon store in field situations;

(2) developing and using models to predict how a range of management practices may influence long and short tem soil carbon storage; and

(3) identifying those factors that influence the stability of current or newly added soil carbon.

We have also supported international work to map on farm soil carbon and will participate in the international research programme CIRCASA.

Principal Investigators

Dr David Whitehead, Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research (2010-present)
Professor Frank Kelliher, AgResearch (2010-2017)

Research Stories

NZAGRC scholarship forges future international collaboration

Congratulations to Nicolas Puche who has successfully defended his PhD at Massey University. Nicolas came to New Zealand in 2012 on a scholarship funded by the NZAGRC - his doctoral thesis, ‘Detailed temporal modelling of carbon and water fluxes from pastures in New Zealand: A case study of an experimental dairy farm in the Waikato region’ was supervised by scientists from Massey, Waikato University, Landcare Research and AgResearch.

Nicolas, who hails from Toulon in the south of France, has degrees in electronics and environmental monitoring. Before coming to New Zealand he worked at a research institution where he developed the photosynthesis components of a water and greenhouse gases budgets model for crops. The opportunity to come to New Zealand and link agricultural greenhouse gas emissions with his modelling experience seemed ideal to Nicolas, and since arriving here he’s quickly learned all about New Zealand’s pastoral agricultural system and its impacts on the soil.

Nicolas has already been offered a post-doctoral position by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Paris where he will continue to work with scientists in New Zealand using CenW through a Global Partnership in Livestock Emissions Research (GPLER)-funded collaborative project. The NZAGRC-funded scholarship has enabled this future international collaboration with the promise to advance the relevant greenhouse gas science. 

Nicolas' thesis has also laid the ground work for several publications, which will be progressed after his return to France. 

Bon voyage and à bientôt, Nicolas - we are looking forward to our continued work with you!


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