Compost Climate Connections Webinar Series: How Compost and Cover Crops Sequester Soil Carbon

Date: 14 Oct 2019 | posted in: Composting | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Our Compost Climate Connections webinar series features the crucial role of compost in mitigating and building resilience to climate change.

Jessica Chiartas, a Ph.D. student with the University of California, Davis Land, Air and Water Resources Department, joined us for our third webinar in the series on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2-3:30pm EST. Jessica shared results from a recently published 19-year study which showed that compost plays a key role in soil carbon storage in semi-arid croplands; significantly offsetting CO2 emissions (21.8 Mg/ha). The study found that conventionally managed soils neither released nor stored much carbon during the 19 year period. Conventional management plus a cover crop increased carbon in the surface 12 inches, but lost significant amounts of carbon below from 12-36 inches; turning the entire system into a source of greenhouse gases rather than a sink. However, when both compost and cover crops were added to an organic-certified system, soil carbon content increased 12.6 percent over the length of the study, or about 0.7 percent annually. Importantly, this is higher than the 0.4% annual goal set forth by the 4 per Mille Initiative. Watch the recording below!

This webinar is one in a series ILSR offers to advance composting. View our webinar resources here.

To learn more about ILSR’s Composting for Community Initiative, click here


Jessica Chiartas

Jessica Chiartas, is a PhD Candidate in Soils & Biogeochemistry at UC Davis. Jessica’s research explores the impact of agricultural management on soil carbon and other metrics of soil health. Prior to academia, she spent 5 years in corporate sales for Fortune 500 companies. Her experience in the pharmaceutical industry, piqued her interest in the impact of antibiotics, both on human and environmental health; and sent her down the literal and proverbial wormhole to soil.  The more she learned, the more she began to recognize the central role of soil in food and agriculture, health and nutrition, climate and the environment and decided to pursue a PhD in hopes of helping to bridge the gap between science, policy and the populace.  

In 2017, she received a grant through the USDA-NRCS to create a website and a series of videos that highlight the value and importance of soil; educating and inspiring as to the connection between soil and life and empowering young people with soil-based solutions to some of our greatest challenges. She is also passionate about finding ways to partner with agriculture and industry to bring soil health management to scale.