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Soil carbon and organic farming: New report from the Soil Association

According to new research from the Soil Association at least 3.2 million tonnes of carbon would be taken up by the soil each yearm if all UK farmland was converted to organic farming.

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According to new research from the  at least 3.2 million tonnes of carbon would be taken up by the soil each yearm if all UK farmland was converted to organic farming.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 89 percent of agriculture’s global greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential is from carbon sequestration.

The key findings of the Soil Associatiomn's resarch are:

  • The widespread adoption of organic farming practices in the UK would offset 23% of UK agricultural emissions through soil carbon sequestration alone, more than doubling the UK Government’s pathetically low target of a 6-11% reduction by 2020
  • A worldwide switch to organic farming could offset 11% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Raising soil carbon levels would also make farming worldwide more resilient to extremes of climate like droughts and floods, leading to greater food security
  • On average organic farming produces 28% higher levels of soil carbon compared to non-organic farming in Northern Europe, and 20% higher for all countries studied (in Europe, North America and Australasia)
  • In the UK, grasslands and mixed farming systems also have a vital role to play, and soil carbon may go a long way to offsetting the methane emissions from grass-fed cattle and sheep.

Source: Soil Association Homepage: Soil carbon. Accessed November 26, 2009

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