Regenerative agriculture means crop farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse the effects of climate change by rebuilding soil’s organic matter and restoring its biodiversity, resulting in both reduced carbon emissions and an improved water cycle. It is a holistic land management practice that harnesses the power of photosynthesis in plants to close the carbon loop and build soil health, crop resilience and nutrient density.
This is important, as the global food system currently accounts for around 25% of human greenhouse gas emissions and causes roughly one-third of soil acidification. It is also the main culprit for eutrophication (the process by which rivers and lakes become progressively enriched with nutrients and oxygen depleted).
If our food system retains its current practices, using synthetic pesticides, artificial fertilizers and fossil fuels while generating food waste, it is likely that the planet’s carrying capacity will be exceeded. Therefore, the main challenge for humanity is to produce enough safe and nutritious food for a growing and richer population in accordance with the planet’s capacity.
Regenerative agriculture improves soil’s health, primarily through practices that increase its organic matter. As well as helping to expand the diversity and health of soil biota, this also increases biodiversity above and below the ground surface, while enhancing water holding capacity and carbon sequestration at greater depths, reducing climate-damaging atmospheric CO2 levels and reversing human-caused soil erosion, which threatens civilization.
It also contributes to the generation, fertility and health of soil, increases percolation (the downward movement of water within the soil), expands water retention and enhances the runoff of clean and safe water. Furthermore, it boosts biodiversity and the health and resilience of ecosystems, and reverses carbon emissions from agriculture, leading to significant additional carbon sinks, thereby removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
2) Regeneration International
Author: The Carbon Underground and Regenerative Agriculture Initiative
Regenerative Agriculture Initiative, California State University, Chico
The Carbon Underground