Climate change represents a major threat to global food security. The agricultural sectors are particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change and climate variability; therefore soils are essential in the debate on how we tackle climate change. Healthy soils can play an important role in climate change mitigation by storing carbon (carbon sequestration) and decreasing global greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. At the same time, agriculture contributes significantly to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). If soils are managed poorly or cultivated through unsustainable agricultural practices, soil carbon can be released into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide which can contribute to climate change. As crop production has intensified, our soils have suffered the consequences. The steady conversion of grassland and forestland to cropland and grazing l and has resulted in historic losses of soil carbon worldwide. In fact, land-use conversions and drainage of organic soils for cultivation are responsible for about 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Read more on FAO website
Three faculty from the College of Agricultural Sciences (Addy Elliott, Soil and Crop Sciences, Suellen Melzer, Soil and Crop Sciences, and Zach Johnson, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture) and five students (Augusta Ahlm, Tabitha Covey, Suzannah MacLeod, Jenna Oxenhandler and Marie Shelli) traveled to Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico to engage with local ranchers, farmers, farm cooperative members, faculty and students from the Universidad Autonoma Baja California Sur, and local community organizations. The primary focus of the trip was to critically think about sustainable agriculture models in the context of this region and culture. Our group hosted a workshop on Compost for over 50 community members, including 20 youth from local ranching families. The students facilitated a hands-on activity in a local primary school about minimizing soil erosion and environmental stewardship. The Sustainable Agriculture class (AGRI 510) is now developing a technical report that documents our understanding of the agricultural systems in place and will create recommendations for how the newly created CSU Center and adjoining 3 acres of farmland may best serve the community.
Suellen Melzer Drinnen wrote a blog post about a visit to a ranch while in Todos Santosa: http://todossantos.colostate.edu/2015/11/01/a-visit-to-san-jacinto-ranch/