Updates on agriculture and natural resource topics from the Sierra Foothills
- Author: Holly Stover
- Editor: Emily Baumstinger
Published on: January 24, 2019
A Healthy Soils Demonstration project was recently launched at Sierra Foothill REC in experimental rangeland plots in the Forbes pasture.
This project is funded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the University of California Carbon Neutrality Initiative and is investigating the effects of food waste and green waste composts on California rangeland ecosystems, including their role in promoting carbon sequestration. Compost applied on rangeland has the potential to increase forage quality and quantity and improve soil fertility through enhanced soil organic matter and nutrients.
The project team is led by Jeremy James, SFREC Center Director, Whendee Silver, UC Berkeley Professor, and UC Berkeley Postdoctoral Researcher Holly Stover. The food waste compost was produced using human food scraps and the green waste compost using livestock manure and plant matter. Thanks to the efforts of the SFREC Staff and Technicians, Brian Yudkin and Kris Daum from UC Berkeley, the project team worked together to establish 9 half acre experimental plots, apply compost, sample soils and monitor greenhouse gases intensively for 3 weeks.
An important part of the project involves outreach with the local community, including ranchers and key representatives of government and non-governmental organizations involved in composting initiatives. A key group of stakeholders have joined the project advisory committee to help see this research best utilized by practitioners.