Dirt's Key Role In Climate Change: How Soil Captures Carbon

Nov 9, 2018

In conversations about climate change, the role of soil often comes up as one way to sequester carbon. Better soil management would retain more carbon in the ground and release less into the atmosphere.

But Dartmouth College Biological Sciences professor Caitlin Hicks Pries says soil's role is even more central, either making climate change worse or playing a key role in mitigating its affects.

"Soils stores at least three times the amount of carbon as is currently in the atmosphere," Pries tells Vermont Edition.

That means what happens to the carbon locked in soil can either "be a positive feedback in climate change, making it worse, or a potential, mitigating part of the solution."

Pries explains how warming soils can speed up the release of carbon locked in the ground, the role agriculture plays in managing soil carbon and why, even with inevitable warming, soil carbon management and increased carbon storage has benefits that will pay dividends in the coming decades.

Broadcast live on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.