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N8 Debate: Encouraging Multifunctionality by Soil Carbon Sequestration

Chair: Professor Joe Holden, Leeds University

Thursday 05 May 2011, 1630-1830
The Work Foundation, 21 Palmer Street, London, SW1H 0AD

N8 Debates 2011 - A Trilogy of Key Debates at the Policy/Technology Interface

The N8 Research Partnership in conjunction with the NERC-funded Catchment Change Network and The Centre for Sustainable Water Management are supporting a series of Debates during 2011 at the policy/technology interface, designed to highlight outstanding issues and begin to identify ways forward. These will be very much participative and interactive sessions led by a Panel with an audience of invited guests.

Our first Debate, Encouraging multifunctionality by soil carbon sequestration will be Chaired by Professor Joe Holden (Leeds University).


Background to this Debate

The recent Foresight Land Futures Report (2010) highlighted the need to capture 'multifunctionality' across landscapes. Greater pressure on land (from population growth, energy needs, food security, water resources management, recreation and a changing climate) will mean that the requirement for land to deliver multiple benefits will increase. A central issue for this debate at landscape scales is how the management of soil carbon can improve the capacity for multifunctionality.

Encouraging the sequestration of carbon in surface soils i.e. increasing soils organic matter levels has numerous positive benefits. Organic material determines soil moisture-holding capacity and drainage rates. Increased soil carbon levels are therefore likely to minimise the impacts of climate change by reducing the risk and severity of water shortages and surface water flooding. Improved soil carbon and soil structure also results in improved nutrient management, higher yields and reduced rates of diffuse pollution. Collectively, encouraging higher levels of soil carbon will ultimately lead to improved food security prospects and a greater resilience to future environmental change.

This Debate will bring together key players to develop a strategic coherent approach and pathway for future policy and action.

Panellists introduce the key issues for the debate

Watch again

This event will was streamed live online.