The Carbon Farming Solution

A Global Toolkit of Perennial Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices for Climate Change Mitigation and Food Security


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Support Eric's Patreon Campaign

October 1, 2021 - 2:47pm

Eric Toensmeier, author of The Carbon Farming Solution, has lauunched an ongoing Patreon campaign. You can support Eric's writing on carbon farming with a small monthly contribution and get access to exclusive content. Visit to learn more or sign up.

Drawdown: the "Sequel" to Carbon Farming Solution

October 26, 2019 - 2:00pm

Since 2015 (a year or so before The Carbon Farming Solution was published), I've been working for Project Drawdown as a Senior Fellow. Alongside Senior Fellow Mamta Mehra, my role there has been to model the economic and climate impacts of increased adoption of agricultural and land-based climate change mitigation solutions. Drawdown's book, conceived and edited by Paul Hawken and featuring an enormous team of researchers from all over the world, including me, was a New York Times bestseller for 2017.

This has really represented for me the next evolution of the ideas in Carbon Farming.That book looked at the toolkit of farming practices that sequester carbon, and was limited to comparing their per-hectare impact. That was plenty!

But Drawdown has been a tremendous education. In addition to carbon sequestration, we also look at reducing emissions from agriculture, and increasing yields (intensification), which can reduce deforestaton pressure to clear land for agriculture. This data was run through meta-analysis, and we added economic data on the costs of establishment, net profit, and years to profit after establishment. All of this data (an education in itself), was then used as the basis for projecting adoption of the solutions. So a solution with low per-hectare impacts, like conservation agriculture, can still have a big impact due to widespread and rapid adoption. This is extremely complementary to my book. Check out the food sector summary for details. Drawdown also looks at solutions that reduce demand for food (diet change and food waste), and improvements to transportation and refrigeration. 

Through Drawdown I've been able to reach a much wider audience than Carbon Farming ever will. Solutions like silvopasture have come much more in focus, in part due to our work there. Drawdown is helping to point out that it's not too late for climate change mitigation - and the many co-benefits that these solutions can provide.

My term with Drawdown will end in April 2020. What's next for me? Working to greatly increase the visibility and adoption of agroforestry and perennial crops. Stay tuned! I'm launching a new NGO, the Perennial Agriculture Institute, to further these aims. And I've just been named a Senior Fellow with the Evergreening Global Alliance, whose Green Up to Cool Down campaign is the world's largest effort to scale up agroforestry. In fact the Alliance has just received $85 million for Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration on 2 million hectares in 7 Sahelian countries.

I also have a number of articles and chapters in press and under development. You may also have missed a few: here are my Washington Post op-ed on silvopasture, my chapter on perennial staple crops and agroforestry, and a piece on perennial industrial crops as feedstocks for green chemistry that I wrote with the fantastic Ann Blake.  

Carbon farming at the Drawdown Conference at Penn State

October 26, 2019 - 1:27pm

I recently had the opportunity to presenta tthe Drawdown conference at Penn State. I've been a Senior Fellow at Project Drawdown since 2015, modeling the impacts of agricultural climate change mitigation solutions. You've probably already seen our best selling book and great website, but here is some video offering a bit more background. 

The first clip is of the agriculture panel at the conference, and it includes about 15 minutes of my overview of Drawdown's food system modeling efforts. 

The second clip is about integration within and between Drawdown's sectors, and features myself and our Research Director and other Senior Fellows for ecosystem protection and management, energy, transportation, materials etc., talking about how we modeled the many links between our sectors. 

indigenous land management in the news

July 10, 2017 - 11:48am

Scientists are finding that the Amazon is still dominated by useful trees including fruits, that were planted and/or managed by indigenous people. 

Forest land is returned to indigenous people in Indonesia.

Project Drawdown notes that returning forest rights to indigenous people can protect 849 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent, and prevent emissions of over 6 gigatons from deforestation.

blog update

July 10, 2017 - 11:42am

Hi all,

I'll be using this blog more frequently to let you know about events in the carbon farming world. Stay tuned!


Project Drawdown book released

May 3, 2017 - 4:57pm

I'm proud to announce that Drawdown, edited by Paul Hawken, was just released. I've been working on this project as Senior Researcher for about two years. We've taken many of the practices from The Carbon Farming Solution and run them through meta-analysis and modeling to determine their full mitigation potential. It really carries the work from my own book so much farther forward. And of course it also includes solutions from sectors induding ecosystem protection and restoration, food system, energy, buildings, transportation, materials, and women and girls. 

Carbon Sequestration Rates and Stocks

May 3, 2017 - 4:48pm

I've posted updated versions of Figure 3.1 and Table 3.2 from the book (also Figures 1 and 2 from the Paris soil carbon conference white paper). They include new data and a few corrections. Along with the images you'll find spreadsheets with all the data and sources. Thanks the Rafter Ferguson for his data visualization services.

books arrive today!

February 11, 2016 - 7:14pm

Great news, 500 copies of The Carbon Farming Solution arrived at my doorstep today. The book is officially published. 


Campaign for perennial crops and polycultures wiki launched

January 17, 2016 - 10:46am

Today we launch a campaign to fund the Apios Institute, a global wiki of perennial crops and polyculture systems. These have the highest carbon sequestering potential of any farming system. We aim to make many improvements to our site, and sign up new contributing members. 

Update: The campaign was a success and we exceeded our goal of $10,000.

Report on Paris climate talks

December 31, 2015 - 10:45am

I've just returned from the climate talks in Paris, thanks to my team at Project Drawdown who made it possible for me to attend. My publisher Chelsea Green printed up a case of "galleys" (pre-publication, black-and white, softcover versions of the pre-proofread book). I distributed them to representatives of organizations like the World Agroforestry Centre, EcoAgriculture Partners, Winrock International, the Zambian Ministry of Finance, Carbon Exchange Trade of Nigeria, Kiss the Ground, Regeneration International, and the Millennium Institute, and to environmental filmmaker John Liu.
Overall these last few weeks in Paris seem to have been a watershed moment for agricultural carbon sequestration, with great press in the Washington Post and National Public Radio here in the US for example. A new international initiative was signed by 25 countries, and though imperfect it is a sign of hope. Overall I could see that the high standard of science present in the book will be an important contributor to the global conversation.
A personal highlight was presenting inside the highly secure "Blue Zone" to an audience of delegates from African NGOs and governments. Our panel was moderated by Dr. Youba Sokona, newly elected Vice-Chair of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Among others I also shared the panel with Cheikh Mbow, IPCC panelist and climate specialist for the World Agroforestry Centre. See attached image of panel, courtesy World Agroforestry Centre.
Only two months until our printing date!


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