Spotlight on Soil Conservation

In celebration of National Soil Conservation Week, we are showcasing two of our current Greenbelt research projects.

National Soil Conservation Week 2017 runs from April 16th to 22nd, and focuses on the importance of proper land stewardship for the benefit of all resources—especially soil—under our care. Led by the Soil Conservation Council of Canada, it’s an annual effort to highlight continuing successes in soil management, while at the same time keeping soil health top-of-mind for both farmers and the public.

Soil_OntFarmlandTrust.pngPhoto courtesy of Ontario Farmland Trust

Healthy soil performs many essential functions. It’s vital to sustainable farming, but it’s also key to higher farm profits; filtering and holding water; safeguarding our watersheds; reducing flooding; attracting beneficial species; growing more nutritious food; and, importantly, helping to mitigate climate change. Soil organic carbon is the largest terrestrial carbon reservoir containing for more carbon than terrestrial vegetation and the atmosphere combined (UN FAO, 2017).

Here are a couple of our recent projects protecting soil!

Firstly, we have sponsored a feasibility study of a multi-year project in the Credit Valley, called Community Action, Climate Change, and Soil Health in the Greenbelt. This ambitious proposal aims to develop a farmer led project to measure and build soil carbon through innovative management practices. Local climate change community groups will support farmers in their efforts and contribute to the measurement process through a citizen science process. The feasibility study allows the project team to recruit farmers and develop a long-term fund raising plan to make it happen.

For more information, contact:

Tom Bowers
Research Manager
Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
tbowers@greenbelt.ca

Ruth Knight
Project Lead
519-357-5224
organicconsultantinc@gmail.com

Secondly, we have commissioned a study into the Effects of Soil Management Practices on the Content of Organic Carbon in Agricultural Soils of the Greenbelt. This study will analyze the trends in farming practices across the Greenbelt and their impact on levels of soil carbon. It will also provide an estimate of how much carbon we could realistically expect to sequester in the Greenbelt’s soils based on current best management practices. The study will be available in early summer.

For more information, please contact Tom Bowers.

Want to learn more about the vital role of soil carbon? Check out these short videos describing climate change and carbon, and the stories of several farmers who have put carbon and soil health into action.