Carbon is Key to Resilience

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Resilience was the common denominator of the Talkin’ Soil Health Conference in August 2022. But what does resilience mean in carbon farming?


The Talkin’ Soil Health Conference

The CFF team was lucky to swing into the Talkin’ Soil Health Conference earlier this month. We heard from a great range of industry experts in the farming space! 


A big theme of the event was discussing the benefits of building soil carbon to increase farm resilience. We’re here to break down the facts and give you the rundown on how increased soil organic matter can benefit your farm productivity, your back pocket, and your wider community. 


What is resilience?

When looking at the sustainability of a farming system, resilience is a key outcome. Resilience comes in many forms. 


Environmental Resilience allows a system to bounce back from the effects of typical farming activities such as livestock grazing or cropping, as well as more harsh disturbances like drought.


Economic Resilience means less financial strain, with fewer inputs and greater outputs.


Community Resilience means stronger personal well-being, more time to focus on family, and increased community membership and relationships.


Why is it important?

When it comes to resilience, carbon is the best starting point. Let’s talk about the path from carbon sequestration to building system resilience.


Soil Carbon

By undertaking carbon sequestration practices, whether through a registered carbon project, or from your farm management style, you are ultimately building soil organic matter and increasing the carbon stock of your soil. 


Carbon can be increased through many activities, such as:

  • Cover cropping
  • Diversification of cropping rotation
  • Livestock in farming systems/pasture leys
  • Perennial pastures
  • Minimise erosion/maximise ground cover
  • Organic amendments
  • Address constraints that limit root access to the water ‘bucket’ maximising photosynthesis
  • New technologies for increasing soil carbon storage

Each of these activities actively builds different forms of soil organic carbon, building a full picture of soil health.


Soil Health

Carbon is the backbone of soil health. Once soil carbon begins to build, the soil becomes far more habitable to microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi, as well as macro-fauna such as worms, ants, termites, and dung beetles to name a few. 


The presence of these organisms can be used as an indicator of soil health. Whilst there is no universal suite of indicators that allow you to measure soil performance, you should select indicators based on your location, time of year, and farming system. It’s a ‘horses-for-courses’ approach.


Very rarely does one indicator tell a complete story. While indicators are characterised as chemical, biological or physical, they aren’t stand alone. They influence each other, so you need to look holistically at your property. It is also important to note that some indicators are well developed while others are based on limited research. 



With your land management shifted towards carbon sequestration and the continuous observation of indicators to understand how your soil health is tracking, you’ll hopefully start to see greater resilience in your farming system. 


This will come in many forms…

  • Quicker bounce back from disturbance events (such as drought)
  • Stronger and longer-lasting hydration through dryer months
  • Diversity in grasses, insects and native fauna such as birds
  • Fewer gaps in feed for animals, and better-quality feed for stock
  • Less impact from diseases or pests
  • Less erosion from grazing, water or wind
  • Less stress as the land manager


And how about financial resilience?

As your soil health increases and your land becomes more resilient. By incorporating strategic practices, you can increase the production capacity of your land, be that through increased stocking capacity or reduced reliance on inputs.


You can also explore the feasibility of incorporating your land management practices into a soil carbon farming project! Explore how a soil carbon project can integrate into your carbon sequestration plans by reading some of our other articles:

Or check out our Soil Carbon Project Guidebook for a round-up of our soil carbon service!


And community resilience?

We all know the disastrous effect that droughts, bushfires & severe weather events can have on the local rural community. If you and your local community go about building on-farm resilience it will make your area better prepared if (or when) natural disturbances come knocking.


Undertaking new land management strategies also goes hand in hand with growing knowledge. This knowledge gathering could be on a casual basis, for example seeking guidance or assistance from other local farmers or community groups doing similar practices. Or it could be contracting local agronomists, foresters, consultants, or indigenous groups to help you implement new land management strategies. 


No matter the ultimate reason you’ll be building a community of knowledge sharing and understanding across your local area. With this knowledge comes the greater potential for job and employment opportunities in your community. 


Keen to further increase your understanding of carbon farming and emission reduction in Australia?

Explore our range of educational resources in our Carbon Farming Education Hub where we frequently publish educational articles, webinars, and guidebooks. 


When you’re ready to explore the feasibility of undertaking a carbon project on your property, email us at or give us a bell at (08) 6835 1140 to be connected with one of our project facilitators.

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