Leave the Leaves, Turn Out the Lights

Most people are aware of the global biodiversity crisis, the shocking declines of insects, birds, and other animals, yet many don’t connect it with life in our comfortable suburbs. Because everything is connected, what we do at home is more important than you might think. Anyone with a house and yard can take two actions that will immediately increase biodiversity by helping the creatures that share our neighborhoods: leave the leaves and turn out the lights.  I’ve never understood why sensible people would remove autumn leaves from under their trees and bushes, only to then pay good money to add mulch and fertilizer. Fallen leaves are nature’s combination fertilizer and mulch, full of exactly the nutrients trees and shrubs need. And regarding “messiness,” nobody walks through the forest preserves in autumn wishing someone would clear out all those darn fallen leaves. Those leaves are what make the outdoors comfortable for many animals, providing shelter, food, and habitat. Fireflies d

Soil Carbon Sequestration

Hawkin, P. (Ed.). (2017). Drawdown: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. Penguin.

Montgomery, D., & Bikle, A. (2016). The hidden half of nature: The microbial roots of life and health. New York: W.W. Norton.

Montgomery, D. (2017). Growing a revolution: Bringing our soil back to life. New York: W.W. Norton.

Ohlson, K. (2014). The soil will save us: How scientists, farmers, and foodies are healing the soil to save the planet. Rodale Books.

White, C. (2014). Grass, soil, hope: A journey through carbon country. Chelsea Green.

Climate Reports

IPCC Special Report. (2018). http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/

Fourth national climate assessment volume l: The science of climate change with a focus on the United States. (2017). https://science2017.globalchange.gov/

Fourth national climate assessment volume ll: Impacts, risks and adaptation in the United States. (2018). https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/

Articles and Papers

Codur, A-M. Et al. (2017). Hope below our feet: Soil as a climate solution. Tufts University Global Development and Environmental Institute. http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/Pubs/climate/ClimatePolicyBrief4.pdf

Donovan, P. (2013). Measuring soil carbon change: A flexible, practical, local method. Soil Carbon Coalition. https://soilcarboncoalition.org/files/MeasuringSoilCarbonChange.pdf

Fargione, Joseph E., Bassett, S.,Boucher, T., Et al. (2018). Natural climate solutions for the United States. Science Advances.Vol. 4, No. 11eaat1869. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat1869. http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/11/eaat1869

Jones, C. (2015). SOS: Save our Soils Dr. Christine Jones Explains the Life-Giving Link Between Carbon and Healthy Topsoil. Interviewed by Tracy Frisch. Acres, Vol. 45, No. 3. http://www.acresusa.com/media/downloads/March15_Jones.pdf

Klopf, Ryan.P., Baer, S.G., Bach, E.M., Six, J. (2017). Restoration and management for plant diversity enhances the rate of belowground ecosystem recovery. Ecological Applications, 27(2), 2017, pp. 355–362.

McCarthy, J.F. (2005). Carbon fluxes in soil: long-term sequestration in deeper soil horizons. Journal of Geographical Sciences. Vol. 15, No. 2. 

Milesi, C., Running, S., Elvidge, C., Dietz, J., Tuttle, B., & Nemani, R. (2005). Mapping and Modeling the Biogeochemical Cycling of Turf Grasses in the United States. Environmental Management. 36. 426-38. 10.1007/s00267-004-0316-2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7674336_Mapping_and_Modeling_the_Biogeochemical_Cycling_of_Turf_Grasses_in_the_United_States

Pouyat, R.V., Yesilonis, I.D., & Golubiuski, N.E. (2009). A comparison of soil organic carbon stodks between residential turf grass and native soil. Urban Ecosyst. 12:45-62. https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/jrnl/2009/nrs_2009_pouyat_001.pdf

Rodale Institute (2015). Regenerative Agriculture and Climate Change: A Down-to-Earth Solution. http://rodaleinstitute.org/assets/WhitePaper.pdf

Schwartz, J.D. (2014). Soil as carbon storehouse. New weapon in climate fight?. Yale Environment 360. https://e360.yale.edu/features/soil_as_carbon_storehouse_new_weapon_in_climate_fight

Zirkle, G., Lal, R. , & Augustin, B. (2011). Modeling carbon sequestration in home lawns. HortScience. 46(5): 808-814. http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/46/5/808.full

Zomer, R. Et Al. (2017). Global Sequestration Potential of Increased Organic Carbon in Cropland Soils. 2017. Nature.com/ Scientific Reports. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-15794-8 


NRCS. (2015). Environmental benefits of organic agriculture: Soil. Webinar. http://www.conservationwebinars.net/webinars/environmental-benefits-of-organic-agriculture-soil

NRCS. (2015). Climate change and organic agriculture. Webinar. http://www.conservationwebinars.net/webinars/climate-change-and-organic-agriculture

 Websites and Facebook 

Soil Carbon Coalition. https://soilcarboncoalition.org/

 Films and YouTube

Brown, G. (2014). Holistic regeneration of our lands: A producer’s perspective. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yPjoh9YJMk

Cravat, M. Dir. (2018). Dirt Rich. http://www.passelandepictures.com/dirtrich.html

Fisher, A.A. (2018). Backyard carbon sequestration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dm9LGiGYBW4

Koons Garcia, D. Dir. (2012). Symphony of the soil. http://www.symphonyofthesoil.com/