Organic farming enhances soil carbon stocks
18 October 2012
The Soil Association welcomes the findings of yesterday’s report by scientists at Switzerland’s Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) indicating significantly higher levels of vital carbon sequestration in organic than non-organic farming systems.
The findings add considerable weight to the argument for more widespread adoption of organic farming methods as a means to combat climate change as well as strengthening the case for governments to encourage organic farming through the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The results of the research demonstrated that soil organic carbon stocks were 3.5 metric tonnes higher in organic compared to non-organic farming systems and that organic farming sequestered up to 450kg more atmospheric carbon per hectare per year bound into soil organic matter.
The report also demonstrates that higher carbon sequestration potential of associated with organic methods is primarily a result of practices associated with mixed farming. Strategies such as livestock and crop rotation – which involve the recycling of organic matter through manure and forage legumes – allow more carbon to be returned to and remain in the soil.
Peter Melchett, Soil Association Policy Director said: “These important findings support the case for the climate change benefits of organic farming that we have been making for several years. This new research strengthens the case for the reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy currently under discussion in Brussels to do more to encourage organic production, as the European Commission is proposing”.
For press enquiries contact the Soil Association press office:
Josh Stride, press & e-communications officer – 0117 314 5170 / 07717 802 183
Notes to Editors
 Read the full report here: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/10/10/1209429109.full.pdf+html
 Read the Soil Association’s report: Soil carbon and organic farming
 Find out more about organic farming here: http://www.soilassociation.org/whatisorganic/organicfarming
About the Soil Association
The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by farmers, scientists, doctors and nutritionists to promote the connection between the health of the soil, food, people and the environment. Today the Soil Association is the UK's leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use. To find out more visit www.soilassociation.org