NZ Herald: Anthony Doesburg – Where’s the carbon? You’re standing on it

Anthony Doesburg writes in the NZ Herald about soil carbon, and scientists’ efforts to measure just how much is contained in our ground and how to increase, rather than decrease, it.

Soil contains more carbon than the atmosphere and plants combined, but as yet there’s no accurate way to measure just how much there is.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“It’s been estimated that if soil carbon increased by 0.2 per cent on the country’s 14 million ha of grazing land, that would represent a carbon trading value of $5 billion at $20 a tonne.

“Effectively, the researchers are trying to come up with scientific formulae for what traditional farmers know from centuries of experience.

“Soil testing on adjoining 13-year-old organic and non-organic orchards, for instance, shows that the former, fertilised with compost, stores almost 50 per cent more carbon. There’s no mystery in that since about half of the organic matter found in soil is carbon.”