Powerful Impact of Meadows on Carbon Sink

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 24, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

Thousands of innovators across the globe are aggressively working on inventing machines that will pull carbon out of the air and store it, or transform it into something useful. Recent news about Amazon committing $10B to combat climate change has created hope that some of these funds will be used to create innovative solutions such as carbon sequestration machines.

But we’re not there yet, unfortunately, so we have to maximize what’s currently at our disposal… nature.

Planting trees, of course, is number one priority.  However, often overlooked, but equally as important, in fact, maybe even more important than trees, are meadows. Expansive landscapes of open fields that contain a variety of plants have a magical way of funneling carbon into their roots and trapping it in the soil where it will be stashed even when the roots die.

According to the Scientific American on sustainability, “Carbon Off-Set Cowboys Let Their Grass Grow”:

“The best way to maximize the amount of carbon that gets trapped underground is to maximize grass growth.”

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The fact that so many different types of botanic species grow in a meadow, and their roots all intertwine underground, appears to be why meadows store so much more carbon than say tall and bushy shrubs. Once carbon is trapped underground, fungi feed off it, and according to the Scientific American, fungi are often consumed by microbes and worms which stabilizes the carbon.

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The western half of the country, with it’s massive open terrain, has a huge opportunity to maximize this opportunity and help the United States take giant steps forward in cutting carbon. Apparently, a cap & trade program that reward ranchers and land owners is already underway. According to Civil Eats, Indigo Ag, a Boston-based agtech company, has raised $600 million from investors to help farmers sink one trillion tons of carbon on their property. Farmers are paid $15 per metric ton of stored carbon.

It’s exciting to see that the economy that led to our stratospheric carbon emissions rate, can be used to turn the catastrophe around and inspire land owners to reach for an opportunity to reduce carbon just as quickly and significantly.🌱

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