Monocultures of ryegrass and large amounts of nitrogen fertiliser are not going to build soil carbon. This was the message from Dr Christine Jones, an Australian scientist who was speaking at the BioFarm online conference last week.

Dr Jones was speaking on the subject of carbon sequestration in farming. Carbon sequestration is the transfer of carbon in the atmosphere (greenhouse gas) to the soil where it can be safely stored and has many benefits. She repeated claims made recently that plantation forestry is not a net sequester of carbon because the lifespan of the harvested wood products is shorter than the time taken to grow the trees, plus the planting and harvesting of trees emits carbon. She said: “I’m not saying that trees don’t have positive benefits, I’m saying that short-rotation forestry is not a solution to emission reduction.”