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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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CIRCASA project

International Research Cooperation to Work on Arable Soil Carbon Sequestration

By Anna Kontoboytseva

Participants of the 2020 CIRCASA meeting in Wageningen
The Coordination of International Research Cooperation on soil CArbon Sequestration in Agriculture (CIRCASA) project, launched at the end of 2017 and funded by Horizon 2020 research and technology development program of European Union (EU), brings together leading soil carbon experts from 19 countries around the world. Over the past two years, knowledge about soil organic matter and the potential of agricultural soils to absorb atmospheric carbon has been expanded and turned into practice and the scientific basis for strategic research agenda has been developed. Furthermore, stakeholders’ perspectives on the potential for soil carbon management to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation and the sustainable intensification of agriculture and Sustainable Development Goals have been gathered. The knowledge and information system and the Open Collaborative Platform (OCP) have been created for communication between researchers and stakeholders on this topic.

 (This article was originally published in the Eurasian Center for Food Security (ECFS) March Newsletter #55, and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.)

The CIRCASA 2nd Annual meeting “Towards an International Research Consortium” was held on March 4–6, 2020, in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The meeting was attended by 73 European and international experts and was dedicated to the results of the activities of CIRCASA’s work packages and of the leading international projects, initiatives, and research networks.

CIRCASA aims to develop international synergies of research and knowledge exchange in the field of carbon sequestration in agricultural soils at EU and global levels, with the active engagement of all relevant stakeholders. The project brings together the research community, international organizations, and governments. The guest of honor of the event was the former Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality for the Netherlands and current chair of mission board on “Soil Health and Food”, Cees Veerman. In his speech, he emphasized the importance of integrated efforts within the framework of the new European Green Deal, presented in December 2019 by the European Commission. The agreement provides for a complete cessation of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To achieve this, the European Union plans to allocate 1 trillion Euros in the next 10 years. In March 2020, a new Circular Economy Action Plan was published. The document contains new initiatives on the life cycles of products with the aim of modernizing and transforming the economy with mandatory environmental protection.

CIRCASA is currently preparing a 2020–2022 implementation plan for the International Research Consortium (IRC) on soil carbon. Fourteen areas of IRC interaction were identified, including organizations such as satellite operators, greenhouse gas control services, carbon offset organizations, soil partnerships and agencies, farmers and agrifood businesses, including breeding companies, manufacturers and distributors of equipment and machinery, organizations related to fertilizers, organizations related to agricultural and food waste, start-ups and consultants, international organizations and UN conventions, research institutions and universities, representatives of the agricultural service sector, and others.

Special task forces will organize the process of interaction of the IRC with each category. Leading organizations for each task force were also identified during the meeting. Ongoing work on a Science Research Agenda developed jointly with stakeholders will help harmonize research for the IRC. The initiative "4 per 1000," the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA), the recently launched European Joint Programme on Agricultural Soils (EJP SOIL), and the Soil Carbon Network for Sustainable Agriculture in Africa (CaSa) are among the participating initiatives.

Lomonosov Moscow State University (LMSU) also joined CIRCASA’s initiative and, together with France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, coordinates the program Managing Carbon Sequestration in Arable Soils of Russia. Russia can make a significant contribution to international initiatives thanks to its vast amounts of agricultural land and its accumulated knowledge about managing soil organic carbon. According to the national report Global Climate and Soil Cover of Russia (in Russian only), the arable and pasture soils in Russia have the potential for carbon sequestration of about 2.4 billion tons, considering the accumulation of organic carbon by fallow lands (0.8–1.2 billion tons). During the meeting, Eurasian Center for Food Security (ECFS) researcher Anna Kontoboytseva reported briefly on Russian organizations, projects, and potential opportunities for IRC participation. The results of the 1st CIRCASA meeting and the 3rd Annual GRA meeting, held February 4–8, 2019, in Cali (Colombia), are published in ECFS Newsletter #43 (March 2019).

If you or your organization is interested in joining the IRC as a researcher, sponsor, or user, please contact CIRCASA representatives at contact.circasa@inrae.fr. All CIRCASA work results and reporting materials are available on the project website. Presentations from the Wageningen meeting can be found here.