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Ireland creates the National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory

This entity will collect data on carbon emissions and sequestration that occurs with agricultural land use; data that will be used to reward farmers who have better agricultural practices.


Irish agricultural soils.

Ireland's Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., announced today that the Department is investing in the establishment of a National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory. Through this investment, Teagasc, on behalf of the Department, will begin intensive monitoring of carbon emissions and removals on different Irish soils, putting Ireland at the international forefront in terms of understanding, supporting and rewarding farmers for the practices. that build carbon stocks in our soils.

The Minister said: “The way we manage the carbon locked in our soils and support farmers to implement carbon-generating practices must be based on sound science. This investment will create an important knowledge and information bank that will allow us to target and reward actions that remove carbon and store it in our soils. Farmers are in the best position to play a proactive role in this area and I am sure they will have a positive impact on the initiative. "

Data in the National Inventory needs to be improved to accurately reflect actual emissions and sequestration from rangelands to verify progress toward our goals. In addition, there is a lack of data available to determine change in grassland soil carbon stocks on organic and mineral soils in Ireland due to a lack of relevant research, data collection and monitoring infrastructure.
State Minister for Agriculture Pippa Hackett welcomed today's announcement saying, “This soil carbon observatory will provide very valuable data on the carbon content of our soils and should complement the data that will be collected from soil sampling and biodiversity studies next year.
In addition, a new EIP project on the rewetting of cultivated peatlands that will start next year will also provide us with important information. All these data will help us to inform about the new agri-environmental schemes of the future, which can contribute to climate action and biodiversity ”.

Minister for Research and Development, Agricultural Safety and New Market Development at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine Affairs, Martin Heydon, added: "Farmers and researchers alike have identified the opportunities here and through this innovative project, we are implementing the most comprehensive monitoring program in any country to scientifically support our actions in this regard. "

Teagasc Director Professor Gerry Boyle said: “This investment will accelerate our scientific understanding of the amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that is locked up in our soils. It will complement the Teagasc Signpost farm initiative and provide farmers with the science behind how their farm management practices can increase soil carbon storage. "

The National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory will comprise up to 10 “Flow Towers” ​​in agricultural systems on a variety of soil types that will add value to existing projects, including; Teagasc SignPost farms co-financed by industry and the Agricultural Funding Program.

The resulting 'National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory' will place Ireland at the forefront of EU research on carbon sequestration and enable Ireland to:
  • Better quantify and model carbon emissions from soil and sinks from agricultural land.
  • Allow mitigation measures to increase carbon sequestration to be included in the national inventory.
  • Participate in the EU ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System) network.

Allow Ireland to benefit from the 2018 EU Effort Sharing Regulation.

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