Climate change, as many of us understand, can significantly impact the survival rate of plant and animal species across our planet. Our changing climate and its subsequent weather extremes can make the Earth hostile for some species, and completely uninhabitable for others. This causes a loss of biodiversity across many ecosystems.
However, what many of us fail to understand is that losing biodiversity can also accelerate our rate of climate change. As the European Commission recently reported,
“Climate change is one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss, but destruction of ecosystems undermines nature’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and protect against extreme weather.”
The two come hand in hand — meaning that in order to tackle one challenge, we must tackle them both.
We see this relationship firsthand with agriculture. Take soil nutrient sampling, for example. Soils that support diverse ecosystems, as Andy Hector recently reported in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) can “generate soils that are richer in plant nutrients and more productive in plant biomass and that store more carbon.” The more carbon we can store in the soil, the more the Earth can regulate GHG levels in the atmosphere. And with better GHG regulation comes a more stable climate.
This is why it’s essential for us to address biodiversity loss along with climate change, especially in the industries that directly impact both (like agriculture). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change addressed this in its Sixth Assessment Report, stating, “this is why it's important to invest early and make an impact quickly,” and at Regrow, that’s what we’re hoping to do by accelerating the adoption of regenerative agriculture
How Regenerative Agriculture can Build Biodiversity
Regenerative agriculture practices carry a focus on soil health (including soil biodiversity) and ecosystem biodiversity. Management practices like cover cropping can build plant diversity through intercropping cash crops, incorporating crop rotations, and utilizing multi-species cover crops (as reported by the Better Ground organization). Building plant diversity can encourage soil biodiversity in some ecosystems; soil biodiversity makes the soil stronger and more nutrient-dense, thereby making it more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
As we’ve shown in our conversations with regenerative farmers,
Incorporating just one regenerative practice can make a grower’s land stronger and more resilient to the effects of climate change.
This practice also encourages the soil to sequester more carbon, which in turn slows the rate of climate change. Regrow’s MRV Suite actually shows farmers the potential return of their practices by allowing them to model the management changes they’d like to make, calculating their potential carbon sequestration and turning those statistics into an actionable plan.
Finding a Common Solution
Regenerative agriculture is a comprehensive solution to both challenges. By increasing the health of our soil and our land, we attract more biodiversity and build stronger soils. These practices not only help to build climate resilience for farmers, but they also help us manage our GHG levels and slow the rate of climate change.
Many corporations today have recognized the potential impact of regenerative agriculture, and are supporting growers in adopting regenerative farming practices. In fact, Cargill and Regrow developed a program called Cargill RegenConnect™, which incentivizes farmers for adopting sustainable practices. Other food brands, like Kellogg’s, are also working with farmers to reduce their GHG impact and build resilience on their operations.
Tackling such significant challenges requires collaboration across the food supply chain — from growers to the world’s largest food brands.
Together, we believe we can have the best of both outcomes, in service of a healthier planet.
Learn about the farmers leading the charge in regenerative practice adoption.