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World experts work on standardization of guide to measure and model carbon in soils of livestock systems

  • They are gathered in Costa Rica and are part of the LEAP alliance that works for the Sustainable Development Goals in the context of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock

August 9th, 2017. More than 20 experts from different parts of the world, who comprise the Technical Advisory Group of the Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) alliance on changes in soil carbon stocks, have been meeting in Costa Rica from 8 to 10 August, with the aim of harmonizing the different methods used for measuring and calculating stocks and changes of carbon in soil in livestock systems and thus develop a standardized guide.

To do so, during the meeting the experts will review the methods that research centers and other actors have used, determining the existing differences between one and the other until reaching a technical consensus and based on this define, in a guide, the guidelines on how to measure and model carbon in livestock soils such as grasslands and rangelands.

Amongst others, this guide will serve as a tool for researchers to provide inputs to policy makers for the development of strategies and programs to mitigate climate change in the livestock sector.

The LEAP meeting is convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with CATIE (The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) of Costa Rica.

During the inauguration of the meeting, which is being held specifically at CATIE's headquarters in Turrialba, Mario Piedra, deputy director general of the Center, welcomed the event, highlighting the internationality of the event as includes experts from Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania.

Camilo De Camillis, manager of LEAP, explained that LEAP is an alliance associated with FAO that combines multiple actors from the government, private sector, NGOs, CSOs, among others, and that works for the Sustainable Development Goals in the context of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock

"We seek to build a global consensus on science-based methodology, indicators and databases to understand the environmental performance of livestock supply chains, in order to create evidence to serve as a basis for policy measures and business strategy and farming management. Precisely on this occasion we want to discover with the group of experts if it is possible to store in the soil part of the GHG emissions produced by livestock and their effect on the carbon balance, "said De Camillis.


Costa Rica hosting the meeting

According to De Camillis, LEAP chose Costa Rica as the venue for the event because it is a livestock-producing country, which is very proactive in terms of research and policy initiatives.

"We wanted to come here to learn more about the livestock research being carried out in Costa Rica, especially in CATIE that is a member of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock," De Camillis said.

As part of the meeting, the experts held a field tour on August 7th which included the visit to two livestock farms. The first one was a private farm certified as carbon neutral and the second was an experimental farm of the National Institute of Innovation and Transfer in Agricultural Technology (INTA in its Spanish acronym) of Costa Rica, where they focused on knowing the role that pastures play in carbon storage.

"The experience has allowed experts to figure out how a livestock farm can be managed while respecting the environment and providing environmental and economic benefits to producers," De Camillis said.

This is the second time that these experts meet to work on carbon in livestock soils, the first meeting was held at FAO headquarter in Rome, Italy in March 2017.


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Karla Salazar Leiva


Information and Communication Technology


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