Does adaptive multi-paddock grazing increase stable soil carbon stocks in Alberta rangeland soils?

Project Details

Status: Completed
Investment: $271,706
Commodity: Soil
Organization: University of Alberta
Investigator: Cameron Carlyle

Grassland ecosystems have the potential to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases and increase the amount of carbon stored in the soil.

Why is this research important for Alberta ag?

Grasslands cover approximately 10M hectares of land in Alberta, providing ecosystem goods and services such as soil carbon (C) storage and the mediation of greenhouse gas fluxes.

Grazing management in these grasslands influences potential soil C storage and losses. Adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) grazing systems have lead to increased soil C storage in some grasslands compared to alternative contemporary
grazing systems.

This research project will find out whether AMP grazing in Canadian grasslands provides similar benefits needs examination in order to support the development of policy and protocols that promote adoption of management change that increase C storage.

By understanding changes in the soil microbiome with soil C pools under different grazing management will allow the creation of grazing best management practices to ensure ecosystem sustainability and provide producers, farmers and ranchers with recommendations to decrease soil C losses.

What benefits can producers expect from this research?

The ultimate goal of this research project is the development of a viable C offset protocol for grazing management that can be used by farmers and ranchers. Project researchers aim to create a catalog of comprehensive data that will compare adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) grazing systems effects on carbon and green house gases in the Canadian grasslands. Project researchers aim to gain a deeper understanding of the biophysical response of ecosystem components, related to carbon storage, to changes in grazing management systems.

How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?

The development of a C offset protocol for grazing management requires engagement with a number of stakeholder groups, and the project has two activities designed to meet this objective. There will be a Rancher Outreach and Stakeholder meetings to enable feedback from ranchers, as the protocol is being developed and incorporate rancher insight into
management practices.

Project results and objectives will be communicated through presentations to producers and scientists at extension events or scientific conferences. Project researchers anticipate at least 3 publications in scientific journals from the overall project.