To date when we talk about beneficial soil health management practices, we usually talk about methods to improve Soil Organic Matter levels, which is the amount of plant and animal residues, the substances synthesized by the soil organisms, that are found in the soil.
Retaining carbon in the soil helps to mitigate the amount of greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere by keeping carbon ‘locked’ in the soil.
Humic, such as humic and fluvic acids, are complex organic compounds that are highly degradable, and play a major role in the organic fraction of soil.
These carbon sources serve as the food for soil biology and soil “Critters” consume them as their energy source.
Recalcitrant carbon can be added to soils as an amendment to create a beneficial environment for microbial growth, improve the structure of the soil, aiding in water infiltration and retention and nutrient efficiency by helping to hold nutrients in the soil column.
Creating healthier soils by adding a soil organic carbon material like biochar can provide a tangible, and immediate benefit to farmers and society at large.
In order to continue this progress, and do it faster, it’s important we continue to prioritize beneficial soil health management practices while simultaneously recognizing the value of adding Soil Organic Carbon -for the roll it can play in more rapidly helping build the health of our nation’s soils.