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There’s a buzz right now about paying farmers to trap and store emissions. Soil is a carbon sink, and certain farming practices accelerate carbon capture while others hurt it. 

Enter soil carbon credits to incentivize sequestration through methods like cover cropping, no-till farming and agroforestry. These are practices often included under the umbrella of regenerative agriculture. So what does science say about how well these methods actually lock away carbon?

In this episode, Shayle talks to Eric Slessarev, staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he studies soil carbon. 

Eric says there’s a lot we don’t know about how well these practices actually work. There are even more fundamental questions like how much carbon is in the soil. Turns out dirt is pretty complicated.

They cover things like:

  • How exactly carbon gets into the soil and why it sticks around.
  • The challenges with measuring soil carbon.
  • The difference between soil carbon and enhanced weathering.
  • How microbes, minerals and the depth of root systems affect storage.
  • Specific practices like no-till farming, agroforestry and cover cropping.
  • Why our soil carbon models may need a big update.


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