Much of the reforestation in the UK will happen on former agricultural land, including pasture land. The soil microbiome in former pastureland is completely different to the soil microbiome of a healthy forest. Our field trial will look at two soil treatments, microbiome inoculation and basalt addition, and their impact on tree growth, tree survival, soil microbiome biodiversity and soil carbon to understand what combination of these treatments best enhances carbon sequestration in both trees and soil.
The project involves 72 test cells and more than 25,000 new trees planted on 11 hectares (28 acres) in Glandwr Forest, our site in Carmarthenshire, Wales. The study is designed and run in partnership with leading scientists from ETH Zürich Crowther Lab; Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation at the University of Sheffield; The Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College London; and The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
A recent study called out the urgent need for real-world field trials on enhanced weathering and mycorrhizal fungi application.
“Mitigating climate change and increasing agricultural sustainability are twin challenges society faces in the upcoming decades. One measure that can contribute to reducing atmospheric CO2 is "enhanced weathering" through the application of ground silicates. Here we propose that mycorrhizal fungi may critically contribute to the success of enhanced weathering in agricultural systems. Fundamental lab‐based experiments now need to go hand in hand with real‐world field trials." (Verbruggen et al. Can arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi speed up carbon sequestration by enhanced weathering? Plants, People, Planet 2021)
At The Carbon Community, we bring together trees, science and people. We help educate young people about environmental issues, enable people to get involved in tree planting, and run citizen science programmes where people can contribute directly to the scientific research into carbon sequestration in trees and soil. Since the launch of our Carbon Study, we have been delighted to meet many incredible volunteers as part of our Community Science Open Days. We also continue to connect with more Universities and to date have provided a facility for masters students from Bangor University working on their dissertation and for virtual and in-person field visits from the Swansea University Geography Department.
We are committed to sharing our findings as widely as possible to increase carbon sequestration in our own projects and beyond.
We are a new organisation and the learning curve is steep! Some thoughts that people will hopefully find helpful...
Curiosity: The launch of The Carbon Community started with a question on how to maximise the carbon sequestration in a forest. Our advice for any new organisation is to be curious and reach out to people, you never know where it will lead.
Volunteering: We are new to volunteer recruitment and have been amazed by the response, in particular from people interested in science. We have had university students looking for hands-on experience, and people interested to learn more about the science. What we have learned is to be really clear on who may be interested in volunteering. We also know that we need to improve our volunteer experience as our on-site facilities are very limited; we are working hard on this for 2022 and hope that our second-hand barn will provide better shelter and facilities next year.
Carbon Sequestration: What we are hoping that people will copy from The Carbon Community will come from the outcome of our carbon study, once the scientists are ready with the results we will share them as widely as possible. In the meantime, anyone interested to learn more about basalt addition and soil microbiome inoculation, please do get in touch at [email protected]
Science: The outcomes of our Carbon Study on enhancing and accelerating carbon sequestration.
People: The number of people that we get involved in our Community Science and Volunteering Open Days.