The H2020 CIRCASA project, which started in 2017 for a duration of three years, aims to develop international synergies concerning research and knowledge exchange in the field of carbon sequestration in agricultural soils at European Union and global levels, with the active engagement of all relevant stakeholders.
By bringing together the research community, international organizations, governments, CIRCASA takes stock of the current understanding of agricultural soil carbon sequestration research, identifies stakeholder’s knowledge, and research needs and fosters the creation of new knowledge.
A 2020-2025 Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) is being co-designed between different stakeholders and it is grounded on scientific evidence and stakeholder’s knowledge demands previously identified.
Taking stock of the current understanding of carbon sequestration in agricultural soils
Farmers and other Stakeholders
The CIRCASA team has gathered stakeholders’ perspectives on the potential for soil carbon management to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainable intensification of agriculture and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focusing on the implementation of SOC sequestration options by identifying and assessing the challenges to – and solutions for – the implementation of SOC sequestration options via regional hubs with stakeholders and regional workshops
The overarching methodology consisted in a public online survey translated into seven languages and answered by approximately 2000 stakeholders around the world and 10 regional workshops (with common guidelines).
The Survey included:
- Management options – current management and effectiveness
- Barriers and solutions
- Knowledge needs
- Contribution to ESS and to sustainable development
Results show general agreement across stakeholder types and regions that economic barriers are most highly ranked, followed by knowledge barriers (e.g. advisory services) and lack of political priority given to SOC
See CIRCASA deliverable D2.2 - Assessing barriers and solutions to the implementation of SOC sequestration options for more details.
A second online survey designed for the international research community showed that researchers around the world agree in three main themes of challenges limiting the ability to predict soil carbon changes as well as prescribe and adopt the best land management practices.
- Understanding Soil processes
- Managing and monitor soils
- Socio-economic aspects with focus on adaptation
See CIRCASA deliverable D1.3 - The science base of a strategic research agenda - Executive Summary for more details and results
This work complemented by a bibliometric study aimed at identifying research gaps and complementary networks which shows how the international community is already working and collaborating served as the science base of the SRA
See CIRCASA deliverable D1.1 - The Network map and dialogue for more details
Co-design a 2020-2025 Strategic Research Agenda to facilitate the establishment of an International Research Consortium on Soil Carbon.
Grounded in Scientific evidence and stakeholder's knowledge and research needs, the CIRASA team is developing a Strategic Research Agenda at EU and global levels. This SRA will support the alignment of research into an International Research Consortium. At this state of the project, CIRCASA plans for major breakthroughs on soil carbon sequestration through the International Research Consortium (IRC) on soil carbon focused on three topics:
TOPIC 1 - Frontier Research: unlocking the potential of Soil Carbon
System’s biology, ecology and physico-chemistry need to be combined to create the next generation of data and models that will help to unlock the potential of agricultural soils by improving our understanding of the role of agricultural management for soil health. To address topic 1, CIRCASA foresees international calls and creating bridges with research agencies.
TOPIC 2 - Innovation through an International Soil Carbon Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) system.
The IRC will develop a carbon budgeting approach, also in use for IPCC Tier 3 national inventories, based on a combination of well-calibrated soil carbon models, activity data (agricultural practices) and high-resolution soil and climate data. In this way, the implication of projects on soil organic carbon sequestration could be monitored, reported and verified at local, national or global scales thought the same shared international monitoring system.
Figure 1: Vision for a Global framework published in Global Change Biology (P. Smith et al., August 2019).
Arrangements with spatial agencies involved in Remote Sensings such as Copernicus, EC Joint Research Center, Group of Earth Observations, Integrated Carbon Observation System, and FAO Global Soil Partnership are planned.
- TOPIC 3 - Innovation for scaling out soil carbon sequestration.
An IRC can pioneer novel technologies and options such as improved root phenotypes, soil carbon inputs from biochar, biogas digestates and organic fertilizers as well as precision agriculture applied to soil carbon. Developing public-private consortia could enhance international cooperation and would be an effective way to foster innovation while developing the European leadership in the field of SOC sequestration. Contacts have been already made with the private sector and the Climate-KIC to see how they could contribute to an IRC for innovation.
A first preliminary draft of this agenda has received feedbacks from CIRCASA partners, members of the 4p1000 initiative Scientific and Technical Committee, the international Technical Panel of soils of the Global Soil Partnership and the Integrative Research group of the GRA as well as from relevant Commission Services.
These three topics are developed through different categories of the IRC (governance, coordination, capacity building, and collaborative knowledge)
To implement this IRC, a formal dialog with each partner (research founders, program owners, foundations, private sector) is needed for institutional and financial arrangements in the IRC.
CIRCASA IRC supports stakeholders for international cooperation.
The Open Collaborative Platform developed in the frame of CIRCASA project will support stakeholders by matching their knowledge demands. This tool has been designed to create an open dialog between different stakeholders and allows them to share data and information on soil carbon.
Knowledge sharing, capacity building, and matchmaking proposed by the platform are complemented by the current development of a Knowledge Information System (KIS). The KIS could work as a knowledge hub and will reference data and meta-data from different existing repositories in one single place. The platform is accessible at https://www.ocp.circasa-project.eu/en/1/home.html and is completely free.
Register and share your knowledge with the community!
Join at https://www.ocp.circasa-project.eu/