Soil carbon project: Research project

EU ERDF Agritech Cornwall - Soil Carbon Project (£142,000) June 2018 – March 2021 

The Soil Carbon Project is an innovative project that aims to help Cornish farmers manage soils in a more sustainable and profitable way. Interest in soils has risen dramatically in recent years, with the prospect of farmers receiving payments for environmental goods and services becoming ever more likely. The Soil Carbon Project is a collaboration between a farmer-led organisation, Duchy College, Rothamsted Research North Wyke and the University of Plymouth with funding from Agri-tech Cornwall, and it aims to develop protocols for measuring and valuing soil health and carbon sequestration that are scientifically robust and practical.

While interest in the subject continues to increase, a great deal of uncertainty around measurement and management of soil health remains. This project will uncover what is happening underneath Cornish farm soils and develop practical solutions to valuing this hidden asset that puts Cornwall at the forefront of this emerging science.

The project will concentrate on three main strands in a bid to remove these uncertainties:

  • Investigating a methodology that could be used to test for soil organic matter and carbon.
  • Learning more about the impact of farming management practices on soil health.
  • Financial modelling to understand how a potential government payment system for protecting or improving soil health and carbon sequestration might work.

Research Assistant:
Dan Evans

Collaborators: Becky Wilson (Duchy College), Stephen Roderick (Duchy College), Claire Horrocks (Rothamstead), Paul Harris (Rothamstead)

University members