Brooks (Rural Roots Canada) – Native grassland systems play an important role in carbon sequestration.
Emily Lowe is a Regional Agrologist for the Beef Industry with Ducks Unlimited Canada.
Lowe says it has been proven that the quality of carbon stored in grasslands is incredible.
“The benefit of these native grassland systems when it comes to storing carbon is that the carbon is incredibly stable. It’s stored in an organic and safe component of the soil,” Lowe said.
READ MORE: Cattle grazing: protecting native grasslands
She says it’s been proven that grasslands are better at carbon sequestration than even forests.
“Say we have a disturbance coming through like a fire. So fire will come through and burn up a forest for the trees and release all the carbon that’s stored in the trees back into the environment, whereas if a fire comes through grassland, it’s going to burn off that top layer of grass on top of the soil.”
Lowe says new data is also very promising.
“It talks about how really good range management and grazing management can actually increase carbon sequestration.”
She adds having livestock graze the grassland is very beneficial.
“If you clip off the top of the plant, it causes more growth under the soil in the root bed, so the better job you do at ranching, the better job you can do of carbon sequestration as well.”
She says this is one of the reasons cattle play a huge role in maintaining these grasslands.
Lowe spoke during RRC Virtual Ag Day in 2020.