Whendee Silver, UC Berkeley

Grasslands cover approximately 30% of the terrestrial land surface and 50% of the land area in California. This large land area and the propensity of grassland vegetation to store carbon (C) in soils suggest thateven low rates of C sequestration could result in a significant sink of atmospheric CO2. In this EDGE Lecture,Whendee Silver, a UC Berkeley professor who researches ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry, presented her findingsthat using composted organic material on rangeland soils as a mechanism to increase C storage and decrease greenhouse gas emissions sequestered new C that would more than offset emissions from cattle or half of the commercial and residential energy sector for the state. The compost-amended fields had significantly higher net primary productivity, water-holding capacity, and fertility than the control plots.