Action commune de Koronivia pour l’agriculture

Key takeaways from workshop on ‘Estimating carbon stock changes from soil for climate-resilient and sustainable rice production systems’



Now, more than ever, policy makers and practitioners are focusing on the fundamental role that soils play in food production and climate change adaptation and mitigation. It is evident that soil restoration and conservation benefit efforts towards achieving biodiversity targets, land degradation neutrality objectives, and the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goals through carbon sequestration.

Key questions driving discussions are how much carbon can be stored in our soils and what percentage of greenhouse gases (GHG) is emitted from soils as a result of land use change or management? A recent workshop hosted by FAO in collaboration with the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network, the Institute of Global Environmental Strategies, and the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), with financial support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF) sought to provide some answers.

The online workshop held on 29-30 June 2022 attracted more than 100 participants from over 40 countries. Discussions aimed to provide guidance and serve as a gateway for capacity building toward estimation of carbon stock change (CSC) in soil. The event also offered the opportunity to share experiences between experts on GHG inventories, methane emission from rice paddies and mitigation options, nationally determined contributions (NDCs), and carbon markets.


  • International climate policy developments highlight the need for robust measurements.
    In South East Asia, these include 1) the need for increased capacity in reporting and verification; 2) the importance of conserving soil and biodiversity, and understanding not only the synergies but also tradeoffs between the two; 3) the need for baseline information for national inventory reporting; and, 4) the importance of data quality to make sound decisions in soil management.
  • It is important to evaluate total GHG emissions.
    For example, additional input of organic materials to increase soil organic carbon can result in increasing methane emitted from paddy soil; however, this tradeoff can be avoided by extending the mid-season drainage period or introducing alternate wetting and drying instead of constant flooding.
  • Improved management of soils and promotion of soil health result in a range of potential co-benefits for food production systems and people.
  • All country cases presented (Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Pakistan) highlight the importance of updated soil surveys and data collection which are necessary to develop tools that support decision-making for good soil management.
  • There is growing interest globally to take action to reduce emissions from paddy systems through better management and long-term monitoring. GHG emissions reduction opportunities include water management, varietal selection, seedling practice, fertilization management, and land preparation.

Next steps*

  • The vast majority of participants recommended the need for clear technical guidance/training on data management and analysis in order to enable estimation of CSC in GHG inventories. They favoured peer to peer learning of best practices and inter and intra-regional collaborations.
  • Three capacity needs to unlock the potential of soil organic carbon were identified: 1) training on soil carbon and GHG emissions;  2) instrumentation to enable local analysis of soil carbon and GHG emissions; and, 3) more opportunities to learn and exchange information on best practices from other countries.
  • To scale up investment in sustainable soil management, participants highlighted the importance of awareness raising on soil’s role in supporting sustainable development, and the need to include soils in climate finance mechanisms.
  • Other key aspects highlighted were the need for support to establish and update GHG inventories; training on specific compliance and voluntary carbon finance standards, as well as project development.

Useful links:

*Participants’ views were captured from the workshop's interactive sessions using mentimeter on day 1 and day 2