How does the Cool Farm Tool estimate soil carbon change due to management interventions? What parameters are taken into account?


Change in soil carbon (release or sequestration of emissions) is estimated based on differences in the management of tillage and cover crops. Also, the transformation from grassland to arable land and vice versa is considered. The method is based on Ogle et al. 2005 and is suggested by the IPCC 2006 guidelines for land use, management and change.

The approach simulates the increase or decrease of soil carbon in a soil layer of up to 30 cm over a time period of 20 years by considering the types of changes compared to current use, management, and soil carbon. The kind of intervention (e.g. from till to no-till, from forests to arable land) and soil carbon stock determine the magnitude of change. This change is then equally attributed over a 20-years period (linear attribution).

After the 20-year period, the soil carbon has reached a new equilibrium and will no longer change. Therefore, data entries of practices that have been introduced more than 20 years ago wont impact emission results.