Alberta Soil Carbon Characterization Project
Croplands are labeled as “climate change mitigators” given their ability to trap carbon dioxide (CO2) as soil organic matter (SOM). SOM is a complex mixture of compounds, primarily carbon (C), derived from plant litter's decomposition. Healthy soils are now part of “verified C markets”, which are corporate programs in which enrolled farmers receive money for keeping SOM in the ground. Metrics of success are often limited to bulk soil C stocks. This is a critical limitation – not all SOM is created equal and may behave differently in the environment depending on their properties. Within the framework of the “Alberta Soil Carbon Quantification Project”, an Alberta-based C initiative, we propose to study SOM composition among the province. This work aims to provide science-based information for managing soil C at the farm level, taking into account processes that define its potential as a SOM reservoir and resilience in a warming climate.