Webinar series on soil carbon sequestration for researchers

In the Netherlands, Wageningen University & Research (WUR) organized a webinar series for researchers on soil carbon sequestration.

The series started with a live discussion session followed by three webinars on various aspects of the topic. The discussion session and webinars attracted 40 to 60 participants each and were made available online for whom was not able to attend live.

The webinar series was an effective way to inform colleagues on the broad theme of soil carbon sequestration and to have discussion about the main issues on this theme and the societal impact of it.

Wageningen University & Research started the ‘Soil on 1’ webinar series because soil carbon sequestration is a multi-facet topic and many researchers only work on part of it, without a clear picture of the whole topic including the social and policy aspects.

The overall aim of the series was therefore to inform researchers on the broad topic of soil carbon sequestration and by this help them to put their own research in perspective and enable them to communicate better on this topic to stakeholders.

Key questions addressed

Some of the questions addressed in the series included: Does carbon sequestration genuinely contribute to combatting climate change? What are the anticipated positive and negative effects on soils and the environment? Should farmers be incentivized for carbon sequestration, and if so, how?

The discussion session started with a presentation on the article ‘Carbon for soils, not soils for carbon’ (https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.16570) by the WUR authors Gabriel Moinet and Renske Hijbeek. This was followed up by a few plenary questions and discussion in smaller groups to address the personal questions on the topic.

The results of the discussion session were used to define the topics of the webinars. A general theme was derived for the webinars: Is soil carbon sequestration a win-win-win-win for climate, soil, and buyers and sellers of carbon credits?

To dive into this question, the three webinars were held around the sub-questions on the effect of soil carbon sequestration on 1) climate mitigation, 2) soil functioning and soil quality and 3) incentives for carbon farming. The sessions consisted of a presentation of one or two expert speakers on the topic, followed by some time for questions by the audience and an interactive part with a poll (via Wooclap) to gather information from the viewers.

Engagement and audience interaction

Starting off with a kick-off as an introduction and discussion to highlight the theme helped in engaging with people, connecting researchers from different fields, and keeping them involved in all webinars. The engagement of the audience differed per topic. Topics and statements that go a bit out of the pure scientific and descriptive scope of the topic, and more to the societal impact and relevance seem to contribute to more questions and discussions.

The Wageningen University & Research (WUR) are planning a new series of webinars on soil monitoring and soil quality assessment.

Watch the webinar series here: