The Soil Carbon Challenge

If you want to find out how fast a human can run 100 meters, do you build a computer model, do a literature search, or convene a panel of experts on human physiology to make a prediction?

No, you run a race. Or a series of them.

The Soil Carbon Challenge is an international and local competition to see how fast land managers can turn atmospheric carbon into water-holding, fertility-enhancing soil organic matter.

There’s been tons of talk about soil carbon, the mother of all ecosystem services, but it’s time to show with good data what’s possible, and recognize those land managers who know how enhance soil water capacity, production, and underground biodiversity. Where things are stuck or the way forward is unclear, a competition can supply creative and unconventional solutions. A competition can leapfrog the decades-long cycle of research, pilot projects, legislation, and incentives, and can showcase leadership based on knowhow and performance rather than on politics, promises, or predictions.

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