Soils are a huge reservoir of carbon, containing almost twice as much carbon as the atmosphere. Preventing soil carbon from being emitted into the atmosphere is essential for climate change mitigation efforts. In addition, agricultural soils have the potential for additional carbon sequestration, particularly soils already degraded.

These are the objectives of 4×1000 Initiative, shared also by many other organisations. One of them is CIRCASA (Coordination of International Research Cooperation on soil CArbon Sequestration in Agriculture) an EU funded research project. It aims to strengthen the coordination and synergies in European and global research on Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) sequestration in agricultural soils. It wants to lead to an improved understanding and scientific basis to target ambitious practices required to preserve and enhance SOC.

22 EU research institutes of several EU Member States participate in the research consortium that started in 2017 with deadline October 2020.

The CIRCASA objectives produce measurable outputs and create significant outcomes useful for the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and of the Paris agreement (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). CIRCASA participates in three major initiatives: the Global Research Alliance on agricultural greenhouse gases (GRA), the Joint Programming Initiative on Sustainable Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE JPI) and, as already mentioned, the 4 per 1000 Initiative.

CIRCASA applies an interdisciplinary and global approach to coordinate international research cooperation in different agricultural systems and pedo-climatic conditions through a strong international partnership. By bringing together the research community, governments, research agencies, international, national and regional institutions and private stakeholders CIRCASA takes stock of the current understanding of carbon sequestration in agricultural soils, identifies stakeholders’ knowledge needs, and fosters the creation of new knowledge.

An Online Collaborative Platform (OCP) structure and integrate existing knowledge in a comprehensive knowledge system on soil carbon in agriculture, delivering a scientific resource of global and local significance (e.g. maps with technical potential for diverse agricultural practices).  Active dialogue with stakeholders is pursued through regular scientific and policy channels and dedicated regional / national stakeholder hubs, gathering their perspectives of SOC sequestration potential, role and management options, barriers and solutions to implementation, and knowledge demands.

4×1000 Initiative and CIRCASA decided to strengthen their activities creating an Integrative Research Group (IRG) of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA).  They announced this synergy through a First Webinar Meeting held on 30th April.