The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) has revealed the results of its global assessment of soil carbon in grasslands.

It finds that globally in 2010 the soil organic content (SOC) in the top 30cm of soil in unimproved grassland is 53t C/ha and 50t C/ha in improved grasslands but there is huge variance in different areas of the world because of climate and farming systems.

The report also recognised the potential of soil carbon sequestration and that SOC content could be increased by 0.3% after 20 years of management, o.3t of carbon per hectare per year could be sequestered.

The report also recommends that soil carbon estimates should be included in life cycle analyses to allocate SOC stocks to different livestock units.

“This would enable accurate life cycle assessment of livestock systems as well as the development of targeted livestock sector-driven national policies for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and food security,” the report concluded.