Soil carbon

Soil carbon directly impacts the chemical, physical and biological health of the soil by influencing factors such as infiltration, soil moisture/nutrient holding capacity and by supporting the healthy development of microbial communities.

Soil organic carbon exists as:

  • living carbon: plant roots, microbes, earth worms and other living components of the soil ecosystem; these play the important role in cycling carbon in the soil
  • labile carbon: decomposing plant and animal material such as composts and mulch. A portion of labile carbon will be broken down by microbes and provide nutrients for plants or feed microbial communities. A small percentage may become stable soil carbon.
  • stable soil carbon: results from exudates provided by soil microbial communities, these communities are reliant on living plants to provide basic sugars for the cycling process. Humus also forms from older decayed organic carbon.
  • resistant organic carbon: inert materials such as charcoal provide a habitat for soil microbial communities.

The Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board is working with land managers and farming groups to demonstrate and implement management strategies which act to increase soil carbon. Through increasing our soil organic carbon we aim to increase the resilience of our soils and better safeguard our region for the future.

For more information click on the below links for reports and fact sheets on soil carbon.


Fact sheets

Regional soil carbon baseline


2023 AgForum - Farming in a changing world - What works in the Mallee?

2022 AgForum - Carbon and Agriculture: Is it possible to make your farm carbon neutral?

Holistic grazing with Dick Richardson

Scratching the Surface: soil biology in agriculture forum

The Soil Story narrated by Larry Kopald (Healthy Soils Australia)

More information

Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board

Unit 5-6, Level 1 Sturt Centre, 2 Sturt Reserve Road, Murray Bridge SA 5253

08 8532 9100