Bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food

Bioscience for renewable resources and clean growth

Bioscience for an integrated understanding of health

Category: Standard Studentships

Understanding the effects of regenerative agriculture on the soil microbiome, animal health and CO2 emissions

Project No.2259

Primary Supervisor

Dr Anastasios Tsaousis – University of Kent

Co-Supervisor(s)

Dr Marc Dumont – University of Southampton

Dr Robert Barker – University of Kent

Summary

There are approximately 9.3 million hectares of farmland in England and through a move to regenerative farming practices agriculture can sequester a significant amount of the CO2e emitted annually in England, helping to achieve agriculture’s net zero goal by 2040.

Healthier soils are more climate resilient, can hold more water; for example a single teaspoon of healthy soil sustains more organisms than

there are humans on earth. Soils with higher organic carbon levels are more productive, require less fertilizer, improve plant and animal health, and reduce flooding. To investigate the role and effect of soil in farming, the aim of this project is to integrate a set of multidisciplinary approaches to evaluate the success of range of regenerative management practices that will be incorporated in a farm setting. As such, we will be joining forces with Re-Generation Earth, that has already established a living laboratory in a farm. This infrastructure combines agroforestry and biochar to the introduction of grazing livestock into a crop rotation. The student will investigate the effect of all these settings on the biology, diversity, ecology and biochemistry of the soil and animals’ gut, while also investigating the gas emissions from the soil. Through this multi-disciplinary project, we intend to display how regenerative agriculture can contribute to England’s net zero goal. Consequently, we will establish a set of measuring, reporting and verification protocols that ensure carbon credits can be created providing farmers with a new income stream and consumers, availability of credits from natural, UK projects.