S9 E6 Building Resilience

This is The ChangeUnderground

I’m your host, Jon Moore

Decarbonise the Air, Recarbonise the Soil!

Welcome to episode 6 of season 9:

With increasing evidence for the effects of climate change, the need for sustainable and resilient agricultural practices should be top of mind for all thinking individuals, groups and nations. Regenerative agriculture, with its focus on soil health, carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation, is a key tool in the armoury of responses in the battle against climate change. This blog post explores how regenerative agriculture helps build resilience in the face of climate change, offering both hope and practical solutions.

Climate Change and Agriculture

Climate change poses a multifaceted threat to agriculture. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and increased frequency of extreme weather events are already impacting crop yields and food security. Farmers worldwide are grappling with the challenges of adapting to these new conditions while striving to reduce their environmental impact.

Regenerative agriculture is demonstrating across many climatic zones its potential to address these challenges by creating resilient and sustainable farming systems.

The Role of Regenerative Agriculture

1. Carbon Sequestration

One of the most crucial contributions of regenerative agriculture to climate change mitigation is carbon sequestration. As climate change intensifies, excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a primary driver of rising temperatures. Regenerative practices actively capture and store carbon in the soil, removing it from the atmosphere.

Key practices that support carbon sequestration include:

  • No-Till Farming: Minimal soil disturbance through no-till farming prevents the release of carbon stored in the soil.
  • Cover Cropping: The use of cover crops between cash crops not only protects the soil from erosion but also adds organic matter, sequestering carbon.
  • Organic Matter Addition: This follows on from cover cropping and is an extension of the process. Additional practices such as composting and mulching enrich the soil with organic matter, boosting carbon storage.
  • Diverse Crop Rotations: Rotating crops and diversifying crop selection enhances carbon capture in the soil. Complexity is the key to stability in biological systems. The more diverse the crops the more resilient the system.

The result is healthier, more carbon-rich soil that helps mitigate climate change by reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and mitigating variations of rainfall across time.

2. Soil Health and Resilience

Climate change can lead to increased soil erosion, loss of soil fertility and compromised water retention. Bare soils as a result of moisture depletion in the soil structure results in lost ground cover, bare soil and erosion. Regenerative agriculture focuses on soil health as a primary goal, making it more resilient to the challenges posed by climate change.

Healthy soils can better absorb and retain water, reducing the risk of drought. They also resist erosion, protecting valuable topsoil. Soil health also contributes to crop resilience, as healthy plants are better equipped to withstand extreme weather events like heat waves and heavy rainfall.

3. Water Management

Regenerative agriculture practices such as the construction of swales and ponds help manage water more effectively on the farm. This sustainable water management not only mitigates the impact of climate-related floods and droughts but also contributes to a more stable and reliable water supply for crops and the soil microbiota that support those crops.

4. Diverse Crop Rotations and Pest Control

Shifting climate patterns present increasing challenges from pests and diseases as their ranges expand away from the equatorial regions. There is talk of malaria in southern Australia being a distinct possibility. Regenerative agriculture embraces diverse crop rotations and intercropping which not only enhances soil health but also discourages pests. This reduces the use of chemical pesticides with all they destroy.

5. Biodiversity Conservation

Climate change threatens the survival of many plant and animal species. Regenerative agriculture actively supports biodiversity through practices like creating pollinator habitat, planting cover crops and reducing pesticide use. By using open pollinated seeds, a built in expanded genetic base is available. This wider base is more resilient to change.

By fostering a rich and diverse ecosystem on the farm, regenerative agriculture ensures the survival of beneficial insects, birds and other wildlife contributing to the overall health and resilience of the agricultural system.

Conclusion: Regenerative Agriculture as a Resilient Solution

Regenerative agriculture isn’t just a farming approach; it’s an holistic and resilient solution to the challenges posed by climate change amongst other things. By focusing on soil health, carbon sequestration, water management and biodiversity conservation, regenerative practices offer a sustainable path forward.

Farmers and communities adopting regenerative agriculture are not only reducing their carbon footprint but also creating a more resilient food system. This resilience is a crucial asset in the face of uncertain climate conditions, ensuring a stable food supply and healthier ecosystems.

Regenerative agriculture demonstrates the possibility and reality of sustainable practices to not only mitigate climate change but also provide practical and resilient solutions for a future that is increasingly marked by environmental challenges. By supporting regenerative agriculture, we can contribute to building a more resilient and sustainable world. 

We must simply remember to: Decarbonise the Air, recarbonise the Soil!


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Email: jon@jmps.au

Transcript: https://worldorganicnews.com/regen6

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