Measurement and promotion of soil organic carbon in cotton systems Monde


Better Cotton Initiative

Services: Strategic analysis and foresight, Technical assistance, Diagnostics and feasibility studies

Countries: Monde

Dates of intervention: 2021/10 - 2022/01

Amount executed: 20 000 €
Total amount of the service: 20 000 €

Main backer: Better Cotton Initiative - Client

Main beneficiary: Better Cotton Initiative

Support provider: SalvaTerra

Experts: Eva HAENTJENS, Olivier BOUYER

Certificate of satisfactory executionIndicateur de santé des sols - Revue de la littératureIndicateur de santé des sols - Etude de cas au Mali et au Texas

Context of the service

For the 2018/19 season, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) covered 22% of the world's cotton production, with 2.3 million producers listed in 23 countries.

As part of its 2030 Strategy, BCI aims to drive measurable changes in practices at farm-level , in order to deliver lasting economic, environmental and social benefits.

Setting measurable, meaningful, and evidence-based goals is therefore essential to focus BCI's efforts on achieving the desired results. The development of impact indicators was prioritized in the following areas: women's empowerment; climate change mitigation; farmers' livelihoods; soil health.

This last indicator is key, as it must allow an assessment of the various dimensions of soils: their biological diversity, their water retention capacity, their fertility, their carbon storage capacity, etc.

Services provided

SalvaTerra was mandated to develop the "Soil Health" indicator and provided the following services in this context:

- Specify the concept of "soil health": different dimensions (biodiversity, water retention, fertility, carbon storage, etc.) and links between soil health and the goals set in BCI's 2030 Strategy;

- Analyze the scientific literature to justify the use of the "soil organic carbon" indicator to estimate soil health;

- Analyze the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines for estimating soil organic carbon stocks and fluxes and adapt them to the specific case of cotton production;

- Propose monitoring protocols in two pilot areas, Mali and Texas/USA, to estimate the effect of changes in practices on soil organic carbon: simplified tillage, addition of organic matter, burial of residues, etc.

- Make recommendations to adapt protocols across all BCI member countries.

Summary of the service

Development of a soil health indicator as part of BCI's 2030 strategy: Definition of the concept of "soil health" and its links with biodiversity, water retention, fertility, carbon storage, etc. Scientific rationale for using the "soil organic carbon" indicator; Adaptation of the IPCC guidelines for its estimation in the case of cotton production; Proposition of a follow-up protocol in two pilot areas, Mali and Texas/USA; Recommendations for adapting protocols across all BCI member countries.