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Network on carbon farming for agricultural and forest soils

The success of carbon farming in Europe will be judged on the quantity and longevity of the sequestration of carbon in plants and soils (by enhancing carbon capture and/or reducing the release of carbon to the atmosphere). To upscale carbon farming successfully and to establish long-term business perspectives, it will be essential to standardise the methodologies and rules for monitoring, reporting and verifying (MRV) the gains or losses in carbon sequestered. Currently, private schemes apply very different benchmarks and rules to the carbon credits placed on the voluntary markets. Without a high degree of transparency, environmental integrity, and methodology standardisation, buyers will be hesitant about the quality of the offered carbon farming credits. Land managers will also find it difficult to estimate their potential revenues and policy makers will be reluctant to allow the use of such credits for compliance into the regulatory framework. Thus it will be challenging to develop a successful market.

Proposed activities should:

  • Build and coordinate a network of key stakeholders drawn from European research facilities, systems developers, solution providers, land advisors and managers and others, involved in soil and biomass programmes linked to carbon sequestration, in particular at the landscape scale level.
  • Develop a platform for knowledge sharing, exchange of experiences, mutual learning, best practices and support facilitating the development (design, implementation and evaluation) of result-based carbon farming schemes.
  • Underpin the establishment of data collection networks (such as carbon flux measurements stations, ground sampling campaigns, etc.), promoting the practice of data sharing and standardisation, retrieval and aggregation of information.
  • Identify gaps and opportunities at the landscape level in ecosystem monitoring and soil carbon flux mitigation practices, leveraging EU level geographically-explicit monitoring systems and solutions.

A substantial part of the resources of the project should be dedicated to co-creating solutions, enhance communication and engage with stakeholders, thereby ensuring co-ownership of solutions and supporting the interest, knowledge and uptake of carbon farming.

Special attention should be given to the promotion and integration of existing databases and datasets, the application of digital technologies, and the combination of Earth observation techniques (drones, airborne, satellite based) with in-situ monitoring for the enhancement of robustness and provision of timely, accurate estimates.

Proposals should take into account and build on relevant previous initiatives on soil carbon monitoring (e.g. ESA World Soils, SEPLA) and EU projects (e.g. EJP Soil [[ https://ejpsoil.eu/]], ClieNFarms[[ https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101036822]], HOLISOILS[[ http://holisoils.eu]], International Research Consortium on (agricultural) soil carbon (CSA)[[ https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/opportunities/topic-details/horizon-cl6-2021-climate-01-07]], and other relevant projects including under LIFE).

Activities should be coordinated with the projects selected under HORIZON-MISS-2022-SOIL-01-05: Monitoring, reporting and verification of soil carbon and GHG balance, and development of carbon farming business models.

Proposals should demonstrate a route towards open access, longevity, sustainability and interoperability of knowledge and outputs through close collaboration with the EU Soil Observatory.

Proposals should apply a multi-actor approach, thus involve expertise from various sectors and disciplines.