Regenerative Agriculture

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= "a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services". [1]


"Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services.

Regenerative Agriculture aims to capture carbon in soil and aboveground biomass, reversing current global trends of atmospheric accumulation.

At the same time, it offers increased yields, resilience to climate instability, and higher health and vitality for farming and ranching communities.

The system draws from decades of scientific and applied research by the global communities of organic farming, agroecology, Holistic Management, and agroforestry." (

What is Regenerative Agriculture?

By the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative [2] and The Carbon Underground [3]:

“Regenerative Agriculture” describes farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.

Specifically, Regenerative Agriculture is a holistic land management practice that leverages the power of photosynthesis in plants to close the carbon cycle, and build soil health, crop resilience and nutrient density. Regenerative agriculture improves soil health, primarily through the practices that increase soil organic matter. This not only aids in increasing soil biota diversity and health, but increases biodiversity both above and below the soil surface, while increasing both water holding capacity and sequestering carbon at greater depths, thus drawing down climate-damaging levels of atmospheric CO2, and improving soil structure to reverse civilization-threatening human-caused soil loss. Research continues to reveal the damaging effects to soil from tillage, applications of agricultural chemicals and salt based fertilizers, and carbon mining. Regenerative Agriculture reverses this paradigm to build for the future." (


1. Maddy Harland:

"Nature is a profoundly powerful force. Regenerative agriculture teaches us that small actions can have large effects. We can rebuild soil and regenerate landscapes at rates that are surprising. Nature responds to our ministrations.

Rebecca Hosking, a Devon farmer, who uses all sorts of soil building and carbon sequestering regenerative agriculture techniques, told me, "People are finally realising how we manage and farm the land affects not only how much carbon is released but also how much we can sequester.

"Similarly how much water, which once washed off our fields, is now being absorbed. In just 18 months of soil building on the family farm we've noticed our herb and grass regrowth dramatically speed up and increase in density; all the time acting as a large carbon sink.

"Throughout the recent severe weather that hit the UK, the real eye-opener for us was the clarity and low flow levels of water leaving our land compared to that of our neighbours. Just by implementing simple money saving land management changes we have seen dramatic results which are now not just benefiting us but others around us. Imagine if many other farms in the UK were to do this, we'd see a high reduction in floods and all of us sequestering carbon to build fertility - it's a win- win." (

2. Gregory Landua:

"As noted in the previously published Levels of Regenerative Agriculture white paper (Soloviev, Landua 2016), Regenerative Agriculture goes far beyond simply soil carbon sequestration. Soil Carbon Sequestration represents a regenerative outcome, but all levels of the value stream from soil to the human consumer of a product and back to the soil are part of the regenerative imperative that is now growing into a movement. Individuals and businesses are increasingly motivated to explore how to participate in a co-creative and regenerative economy where human needs are met in style while ecosystem health is increased and the capacity of the system itself and all members of the system to evolve more robust vitality and viability is grown." (


By the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative [4] and The Carbon Underground [5]:

"Regenerative Agricultural Practices are:

Practices that

(i) contribute to generating/building soils and soil fertility and health;

(ii) increase water percolation, water retention, and clean and safe water runoff;

(iii) increase biodiversity and ecosystem health and resiliency; and

(iv) invert the carbon emissions of our current agriculture to one of remarkably significant carbon sequestration thereby cleansing the atmosphere of legacy levels of CO2.

Practices include:

1. No-till/minimum tillage.

Tillage breaks up (pulverizes) soil aggregation and fungal communities while adding excess O2 to the soil for increased respiration and CO2 emission. It can be one of the most degrading agricultural practices, greatly increasing soil erosion and carbon loss. A secondary effect is soil capping and slaking that can plug soil spaces for percolation creating much more water runoff and soil loss. Conversely, no-till/minimum tillage, in conjunction with other regenerative practices, enhances soil aggregation, water infiltration and retention, and carbon sequestration. However, some soils benefit from interim ripping to break apart hardpans, which can increase root zones and yields and have the capacity to increase soil health and carbon sequestration. Certain low level chiseling may have similar positive effects.

2. Soil fertility

... is increased in regenerative systems biologically through application of cover crops, crop rotations, compost, and animal manures, which restore the plant/soil microbiome to promote liberation, transfer, and cycling of essential soil nutrients. Artificial and synthetic fertilizers have created imbalances in the structure and function of microbial communities in soils, bypassing the natural biological acquisition of nutrients for the plants, creating a dependent agroecosystem and weaker, less resilient plants.

Research has observed that application of synthetic and artificial fertilizers contribute to climate change through

(i) the energy costs of production and transportation of the fertilizers,

(ii) chemical breakdown and migration into water resources and the atmosphere;

(iii) the distortion of soil microbial communities including the diminution of soil methanothrops, and

(iv) the accelerated decomposition of soil organic matter.

3. Building biological ecosystem diversity

Building biological ecosystem diversity begins with inoculation of soils with composts or compost extracts to restore soil microbial community population, structure and functionality restoring soil system energy (Ccompounds as exudates) through full-time planting of multiple crop intercrop plantings, multispecies cover crops, and borders planted for bee habitat and other beneficial insects. This can include the highly successful push-pull systems. It is critical to change synthetic nutrient dependent monocultures, low-biodiversity and soil degrading practices.

4. Well-managed grazing practices

Well-managed grazing practices stimulate improved plant growth, increased soil carbon deposits, and overall pasture and grazing land productivity while greatly increasing soil fertility, insect and plant biodiversity, and soil carbon sequestration. These practices not only improve ecological health, but also the health of the animal and human consumer through improved micro-nutrients availability and better dietary omega balances.

Feed lots and confined animal feeding systems contribute dramatically to

(i) unhealthy monoculture production systems,

(ii) low nutrient density forage

(iii) increased water pollution,

(iv) antibiotic usage and resistance, and

(v) CO2 and methane emissions, all of which together yield broken and ecosystem-degrading food-production systems."


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