News 3.12.2020

Field Observatory demonstrates carbon sequestration into arable land

The carbon sequestration of arable land and the affecting factors can be monitored in real-time from the new Field Observatory. Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequestering carbon into the soil is a meaningful way to mitigate climate change and move towards carbon neutrality goals. The proliferation of carbon farming and the utilization of the carbon units created requires the verification of carbon sequestration and other benefits.
Photo: Adobe Stock.

The Field Observatory service illustrates the effects of carbon farming on Finnish farms and the development of an international carbon sequestration verification system. Carbon farming refers to agricultural methods aimed at sequestering atmospheric carbon into the soil and vegetation. Increasing soil organic matter also helps agriculture adapt to the effects of climate change.

Research of carbon sequestration into arable lands combines various measurements of soil, vegetation and atmosphere, new measurement technologies, mathematical modeling, and efficient computing and informatics workflows. Future verification systems of carbon sequestration and planning tools of carbon farming will combine these methods into operational digital services. The information is up-to-date and field-specific.

High demand for carbon sequestration verification

“With the Field Observatory service, we want to present the current state of science and envision the future possibilities of carbon sequestration. Our research contributes to the utilization of soil carbon sequestration in climate goals of businesses and the public sector, ” says Research Professor Jari Liski from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

“Digitalisation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced data analytics enable the utilization of continuous and real-time measurement data in bioeconomy production chains. The Field Observatory shows how practitioners can apply the carbon sequestration study results in practical carbon farming. The information serves and connects farmers, researchers, and all others interested in soil carbon sequestration,” says Principal Research Scientist Iivari Kunttu from Häme University of Applied Sciences.

Carbon farming methods developed on ordinary farms

Practical information on the effects of carbon farming encourages farmers. "You want information about your field, for example, how much a cover crop increases photosynthesis and whether it keeps the field better drained in autumn," says Tuomas Mattila, a farmer and Senior Researcher at the Finnish Environment Institute. “The Field Observatory is a living laboratory where data are visible to everyone. For example, we obtained information about the effects of the 2020 peculiar weather at a half-hour frequency," Mattila continues.

The data of the Field Observatory come from different Finnish farms that are involved in the Carbon Action research. “The aim is to improve yields and at the same time have a positive effect on the condition of the soil, climate, and the Baltic Sea. There is no time to waste. That is why we want to move forward based on research data, without delay experimenting and learning together,” says Pieta Jarva, Communications Director of the Baltic Sea Action Group.

In the future, the Field Observatory will be expanded to serve better carbon sequestration verification and carbon unit utilization. During the winter, the team will add the first carbon sequestration forecasts to the Field Observatory service.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Häme University of Applied Sciences HAMK, and the Baltic Sea Action Group BSAG are developing the Field Observatory. The Strategic Research Council, Business Finland, the Academy of Finland's Flagship Program, and the Ministry of Education and Culture fund the work.

The Field Observatory service is part of the Carbon Action Platform to improve agriculture’s climate, waters, and biodiversity impacts.

More information:

Jari Liski, Research Professor, Finnish Meteorological Institute, tel. +358 40 748 5088 Istem Fer, Senior Researcher, Finnish Meteorological Institute, E-mail istem.fer [at] Tuomas Mattila, Senior Researcher, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, +358 29 525 1415 Iivari Kunttu, Principal Research Scientist, Häme University of Applied Sciences HAMK, tel. +358 50 462 2692 Pieta Jarva, Communications Director, Baltic Sea Action Group BSAG, tel. +358 50 338 1096

Check out the Field Observatory service at

Carbon farmingCarbon sequestrationCarbon sinkService