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Release of the GSOC MRV Protocol!


FAO/GSP and its Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) are pleased to announce the release of the document “GSOC MRV Protocol: A protocol for measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification of soil organic carbon in agricultural landscapes”. This protocol represents a significant advance for soils around the world and for users who can now measure, report and verify Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) gains and changes at the farm level.

In today's world, there is a strong demand for standardized, robust, reliable, cost-effective, and easily applicable MRV platforms to measure SOC change and GHG removals related to different agricultural systems. The Global Soil Partnership, together with partners, organized the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon, which resulted in  the Outcome Document: "Unlocking the potential of soil organic carbon." This document provided recommendations on the way forward, one of which was the establishment of a working group to develop a concrete method that can be adapted locally to monitor SOC stocks and changes, and ultimately support management decisions. The GSOC MRV Protocol was developed through an extensive research and consultation process, involving scientists, policy makers, FAO Members, and international and intergovernmental panels from all regions of the world.

Soil Organic Carbon, as an essential component of soil health, plays a crucial role in the overall behavior of soils and is the backbone of Soil Organic Matter (SOM). Over the years, the role of soils and SOC in the climate system, especially in climate change adaption and mitigation, has been recognized and scientifically validated worldwide. Increasing SOC content in soils enhances the overall health and fertility of soils, the resilience and sustainability of agriculture, as well as food security and nutrition.

This document aims to provide a framework and standard methodologies for the measuring, monitoring, reporting and verifying changes in SOC stocks and GHG emission removals from agricultural projects that adopt Sustainable Soil Management Practices at the farm level. It is anticipated to be applied in different agricultural lands across the world as well as in any project related to SOC sequestration, including the newly launched RECSOIL initiative.

The implementation of the GSOC MRV Protocol places farmers at the center as key actors for soil carbon sequestration and GHG mitigation.The GSOC MRV Protocol is designed for projects carried out at the farm level; however, other potential users, such as research institutions, investors, government agencies, agricultural companies, NGOs, individual farmers or farmer associations, supply chain, and others interested in measuring and estimating SOC stocks, SOC changes, and GHG emissions in response to management practices can adapt the document.