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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Oklahoma and Central Plains Agricultural Research Center » Research » Research Project #444492

Research Project: Effects of Grazing Land Management on Soil Organic Carbon in the United States: A Climate Hubs-LTAR Science Synthesis and Translation Collaboration

Location: Oklahoma and Central Plains Agricultural Research Center

Project Number: 3070-12610-001-015-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2023
End Date: Jun 30, 2025

The objectives of this project are to: 1) synthesize and translate what is currently known about the impact of livestock grazing land management on soil organic carbon dynamics in extensively managed rangelands and intensively managed pasturelands of the United States; 2) validate and refine the carbon sequestration uncertainty predictions of the COMET-Farm model in relation to grazing strategies commonly used in conservation planning. We will partner with the Climate Hubs and the LTAR network to work collaboratively to produce and deliver regionally appropriate, actionable science needed for measuring, monitoring, reporting, and verification (MMRV) mandate in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). We anticipate that this synthesis and its translation, as well as the validation of COMET-Farm, will be critically important in informing the MMRV of carbon sequestration and Greenhouse gas reductions from conservation investments under the IRA. It will also help inform IRA conservation investment decisions for the implementation of climate-smart grazing management.

Researchers and agencies are developing and implementing climate-smart technologies that have accelerated the need for science synthesis as well as improved monitoring and prediction tools for understanding soil organic carbon dynamics. The best science available suggests that soil carbon stocks in grazed ecosystems vary considerably across space and time and that sequestration potential of different grazing strategies is often associated with considerable uncertainty. An up-to-date comprehensive review of the research in this area, across multiple regions and soil types, using cutting-edge meta-analyses techniques is urgently needed to temper expectations, inform verification protocols supporting climate-smart commodity certification, and identify knowledge gaps where more research is needed. In addition, models such as COMET-Farm (widely employed by the USDA NRCS), that predict soil carbon sequestration potential of conservation practices, require further refinement and validation if they are to become the industry standard. We are proposing to support a Climate Hub Fellow at Oklahoma State University. This person, collaboratively with LTAR scientists and Hub staff, will compile and synthesize the literature and data, conduct the analyses, publish the results, translate the science i to create region-relevant products, and fully participate in outreach activities associated with this project.