It all began with a group of people who dreamt of mapping soil function, helping farmers improve their land and creating carbon offsets.
Canada has some 70 million acres of ranchland. This land has the potential to act as a vast resource for the capture of Green House Gases (GHG) including carbon dioxide (CO2). To use agricultural land as a viable carbon offset:
the current levels of Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) need to be measured, also called baselined;
agronomists and soil scientists use the baseline data, which includes other soil nutrient information, to advise farmers on how to develop the soil, improving soil fertility and its ability to sequester CO2, where it becomes SOC;
subsequent measurements that occur every 3-5 years, compare SOC levels to the previous measurement; and
the increase in SOC is a valid carbon offset and can be traded on the voluntary, and eventually the compliance carbon market.
Until recently there have not been the means or technology to use this resource effectively. Current technologies for baselining SOC levels are prohibitively expensive and time-consuming, while national and provincial government policies have not provided the stimulus required for large-scale measurement and improvement initiatives. Furthermore, there have been very few measurement protocols that are accepted widely enough to garner the support of governments and carbon offset markets.
However, times have changed and Pachaterrae intends to lead the field in measuring SOC in pasture and ranchlands, assist the federal government in meeting their soil data reporting requirements to the UN under the Paris Climate Accord and aggregate agricultural carbon credits for sale to emitters and other parties.