August 25, 2020   •   News

The database of national agriculture inventory methodological and emission factor improvements is being developed as an open and freely accessible online electronic resource. The Inventories and NDC Network is currently seeking interesting case studies for inclusion in the database.

If you are aware of any recent and/or major changes to your country’s agriculture inventory methodology and/or emission factors, please notify the GRA Secretariat at [email protected].

The case studies are intended to support inventory compilers to identify improvements that can be made to their current methodology and/or to emission factors in use in their national agriculture inventories. The case study information will potentially:

  • increase the reporting Tier related to that specific improvement and emission category(ies),
  • enable research priorities to be more easily and quickly identified, lowering the costs of countries being able to provide a robust and internationally defensible scientific evidence base to justify any change to emission reporting (as part of international reporting requirements),
  • guide and accelerate activity data collection processes specific to the inventory improvement in question,
  • guide how improvements might be implemented in their country’s agriculture inventory model, and help compilers estimate the potential impact on reported emissions.

The Resource will explain the context for the inventory improvement and to what farming systems or regions it is expected to be relevant for.The case studies from this project will be published on the www.agMRV.org website, run by the GRA and CCAFS.

The categories of interest for methodological and emission factor improvements are: 

  • 3A1 Enteric Fermentation
  • 3A2 Manure Management
  • 3B2a Cropland Remaining Cropland
  • 3B2b Land Converted to Cropland
  • 3B3a Grassland Remaining Grassland
  • 3B3b Land Converted to Grassland
  • 3C1b Biomass Burning – Cropland
  • 3C1c Biomass Burning – Grassland
  • 3C2 Liming
  • 3C3 Urea Fertilization
  • 3C4 Direct N2O emissions from Managed Soils
  • 3C5 Indirect N2O emissions from Managed Soils
  • 3C6 Indirect N2O emissions from Manure Management
  • 3C7 Rice Cultivation
August 25, 2020   •   News

Methane emissions from reservoirs and other constructed Freshwater ponds (e.g. farm dams) have now been included in the Australian national greenhouse gas inventory, including an estimate for certain Ponded pastures. For all dams and reservoirs methane emissions are reported under the Wetlands Remaining Wetlands (see Page 116, Section 6.10) classification.  Freshwater ponds include stock dams as well as crop dams and farm tanks, which are small to large, shallow impoundments used for crop irrigation.

Freshwater ponds: The methane emissions in the inventory from dams is based on the paper by Grinham et al., 2018, supported by the work of Ollivier et al 2018, resulting in an average emission around 140 kg CH4/ha/yr for all dams.  This compares with the IPCC default factor of 183 kg CH4/ha/yr. This research concluded that farm dams in grazing areas have higher methane emissions than farm dams in cropland.

The Australian inventory assumes that this difference occurs due to additional organic matter (OM) inputs, namely manure from cattle, sheep and other livestock. The Australian inventory therefore now allocates a portion of these methane emissions from dams (the fraction assumed to arise from manure) to the Manure Management (see Section 5.4, page 304) classification, based on the livestock activity data, estimating the rate of livestock manure washing into dams is around 5% of all manure deposited on pasture and range.

The higher methane emissions from dams in grazing areas reported by Grinham et al. 2018 and Ollivier et al. 2018 are presumably due to organic matter input, either through direct deposit of manure, or through rain runoff into the dam. The research noted that algal growth stimulated by organic and nutrient inputs contributes to elevated methane emissions as well.

Ponded pastures are ponds constructed in grazing lands in tropical and subtropical regions that experience distinct wet and dry seasons. The ponds are designed to flood seasonally (during the wet), and are sown with water tolerant grasses. These grasses grow mainly during the wet season, providing grazing for cattle in the dry season as the ponds dry out.

The inventory estimates that Australia has about 52,500 ha of ponded pastures in the dry tropics and subtropics. The national inventory therefore estimates methane emissions from this source under Freshwater Ponds. While there is limited information on the emission rates from these water bodies, as they are vegetated, it is likely that methane emissions are high. The emissions reported for Wetlands converted to grassland are therefore used.

August 24, 2020   •   News

On the 19 August 2020, the GRA and CCAFS successfully hosted the second webinar of the 2020 CLIFF-GRADS Science Collaboration Series.

Eighty CLIFF-GRADS Alumni and Hosts from 33 countries attended this week’s session with Sir Peter Gluckman on The Science-Policy Interface. Sir Peter shared with us his views on challenges that governments face with policy making and the often misalignment of communicating a ‘science problem’ in the context of a ‘policy problem’.

The series was developed to build technical capability, transfer knowledge and facilitate international collaboration for CLIFF-GRADS Alumni, given current international travel restrictions.

A series of special sessions with guest speakers emphasises the current science and policy challenges for agricultural greenhouse gas emission management. To register for upcoming webinars, please click here. Sessions intended for the students will be restricted to CLIFF-GRADS Alumni only.

Sir Peter Gluckman is chair of the International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA) and president-elect of the International Science Council (ISC). From 2009-2018 he was the first Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. He has written and spoken extensively on science-policy, science-diplomacy, and science-society interactions.

August 20, 2020   •   News

The Thünen Institute of Climate-Smart Agriculture, Germany are seeking candidates for a PhD position on “Minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and optimizing biomass yields of paludiculture on rewetted fen peatlands”. It is a 4-year position and paid with 65% E13 TVÖD salary.

Applications by international students are welcome.

For further inquiries please contact: Dr. Bärbel Tiemeyer ([email protected]) or Dr. Arndt Piayda ([email protected]).

Apply now! Applications deadline is 31 August 2020. 

August 18, 2020   •   News

A publication “National model to evaluate environmental impacts of cattle production systems in Uruguay” on the new Livestock Environmental Assessment (EMAG) has been released.

The EMAG is a decision support tool that allows simulating the environmental performance of livestock systems in Uruguay and thus evaluating their current situation, or what aspects to improve to contribute to a lower environmental impact of livestock production systems. This tool was developed within the framework of the Uruguayan Family Farm Improvement Project (UFFIP) in order to assess environmental changes in livestock systems and to serve as an essential support to improve knowledge at the level of producers and technicians.

Jointly developed by The National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA), the University of the Republic – Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Faculty of Agronomy, Institute of Agricultural Plan, Uruguay and AgResearch, New Zealand, the publication provides an overview of why a national model for cattle systems is needed and the specification of a complete animal biology model with modules for estimating resource use and environmental emissions.

The publication is available here. To use the EMAG tool, click here.

August 18, 2020   •   News

On 12 August 2020, the GRA and CCAFS successfully hosted the first of 12 webinars. This series will build technical capability, transfer knowledge and facilitate international collaboration for CLIFF-GRADS Alumni. They provide a platform for students in the programme, in particular the Round 3 Alumni, to present their PhD research and collaborate with their CLIFF-GRADS peers. In addition, the series will host a series of guest speakers including:

  • Sir Peter Gluckman (Chair of INGSA and president-elect of ISC),
  • Olia Glade (Director, MRV Systems at GHGMI),
  • Dr Andreas Wilkes (Associate Expert, UNIQUE Forestry and Land Use GmbH),
  • Professor Chevalier Dr. John R. Porter (Emeritus Professor of Agriculture and Climate Change, University of Greenwich), and
  • A panel of farmers from the WFO Gymnasium Programme

The welcome session provided an overview of the history of CLIFF-GRADS and it’s objectives in the context of global agriculture emission management in a changing climate. We heard first-hand experiences from CLIFF-GRADS Alumni Samuel Anuga of Ghana, Titis Apdini of Indonesia, Florencia Garcia of Argentina and Yuri Gelschleichter of Brazil. The session included an introduction to the resources available to support new CLIFF-GRADS awardees as they begin to prepare for their scientific and technical training.

To register for upcoming webinars, please click here. Sessions intended for the students will be restricted to CLIFF-GRADS Alumni only.

The presentation slides are available here.

August 17, 2020   •   News

A Special Issue of the Animals Journal on “Grazing Livestock Systems: Measuring and Mitigating Enteric Methane Emissions” are seeking original contributions from researchers working on innovative application of methane mitigation strategies and measurement methods that can be applied to grazing systems.

The Guest Editors of this Special Issue are Dr. César S. Pinares-Patiño (The Agribusiness Group, Lincoln, New Zealand), Dr. Arjan Jonker (AgResearch, Palmerston North, New Zealand) and Dr. Camila Muñoz (Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, INIA Remehue, Osorno, Chile).

For more information, please click here

Manuscript submission deadline: December 31, 2020

August 17, 2020   •   News

Bertin Takoutsing from Cameroon completed his CLIFF-GRADS research stay at ISRIC – World Soil Information, supervised by Dr. Gerard Heuvelink. He is in the final stages of his PhD at Wageningen University in The Netherlands.

Quantification of the uncertainty in DSM products is very important for policy decision makers and land users, as decisions based on inaccurate soil information can ultimately have extensive and profound impacts, and impair end-users’ decisions.

Land health projects are consistently included among the priorities in the assessment of carbon sequestration potentials and soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks. Most of these projects use proximal soil sensing (PSS) methods such as Mid-Infrared and Near-Infrared (MIR/NIR) spectroscopy to generate soil data used in digital soil mapping (DSM) processes. Though these PSS methods are cost-effective, and time-saving as compared to traditional wet chemistry techniques, errors and uncertainties that are propagated through PSS methods are often ignored or neglected. This may lead to inaccurate DSM model outputs and poor decisions by the end-users. There is need for further exploration of the DSM approaches that account for uncertainties in soil measurements to improve the reported accuracies of the final SOC estimates.

As a CLIFF-GRADS recipient and during my PhD stay at ISRIC – World Soil Information, Wageningen, The Netherlands, I was involved in the research project that focused on incorporating measurement errors in soil observations in the state-of-the-art DSM approaches used to map carbon potentials and soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks. This was also a capacity building opportunity to improve my scientific knowledge and skills on geostatistics, spatial analysis and digital soil mapping that enable me to enhance my PhD research outputs both in content and quality.

As main outcomes, we were able to quantify the measurement errors in soil observations generated using conventional laboratory methods and PSS, and analyze how these propagate though the covariance structure of the spatial model to affect the reported accuracies of SOC stocks estimates.

I’m really grateful for the CLIFF-GRADS Programme that enabled me to get an insight of soil organic carbon stocks estimation through digital soil mapping and develop methods to analyze the propagation of measurement errors to the final estimates. On a more personal note, it was a fabulous opportunity to interact with other scientists, exchange experiences, develop new skills and expand the professional network which I am now using to foster my scientific career.

August 14, 2020   •   News

On the 5 August 2020, the GRA successfully hosted the first webinar of the three-part Progressing Partnerships webinar series – “Setting the scene for impact”. This webinar focussed on the importance of international collaborations in addressing the challenges of agricultural emissions reductions in the context of food security, poverty reduction and sustainable development, in particular the role of the GRA.

Seventy-four participants from 35 countries, representing government agencies, universities, national and regional research institutions and development agencies, attended the webinar.


Hayden Montgomery, Special Representative, Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (Presentation available)

Bob Turnock, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Presentation available)

Edward Yeboah, CSIR-Soil Research Institute Ghana (Presentation available)

Eugenia Saini, Regional Fund for Agricultural Technology (FONTAGRO) (Presentation available)

To register for the two upcoming webinars, please click here.

August 13, 2020   •   News

The Global Research on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) is pleased to announce the online advanced course for professionals on livestock and climate change: “Livestock and climate change: Assessment of emissions, mitigation options and adaptation strategies” from the 19 – 30 October 2020.

This course is jointly hosted by the GRA, the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), the Red Remedia, and the 4 per 1000 Initiative.

Click here for more information about the course and to register (English webpage)

Click here for more information about the course and to register (Spanish webpage)

August 13, 2020   •   News

The agriculture sector is responsible for almost 13 per cent of all emissions in the Swiss GHG-inventory, with a significant contribution of N2O-emissions from agricultural soils. While the extent of the individual nitrogen pools can be estimated with acceptable precision, the amount of nitrogen converted to N2O, i.e. the emission factor, remains highly uncertain due to the very dynamic nature of soil processes that lead to N2O production.

So far default emission factors have been used in the Swiss inventory which may be adequate for average emissions integrated over large areas and a long time period. However, for a more detailed assessment of soil-borne emissions that depict regional and temporal heterogeneity a more sophisticated approach is needed.

Because of the complexity and the need of detailed databases covering the whole territory of a country, including reliable weather and farming data, so far only few countries have been able to use modelling for their N2O-inventories of the agricultural sector (e.g., China, Japan and the USA).

At Agroscope, the Swiss centre of excellence for agricultural research, a project was started in 2020 to evaluate process-oriented models for estimating soil-based N2O emissions under cropland and permanent grassland in Switzerland. The performance of the model DayCent, which has been successfully applied for national greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting in the US, is being tested for Swiss conditions.

DayCent is a model of intermediate complexity and is based on the CENTURY model that was broadly used to simulate soil organic matter (SOM) dynamics. In collaboration with researchers from different institutions and countries, including ETH Zurich (Switzerland), University College Dublin (Ireland), and Colorado State University (US) we are testing the model’s performance against measured data from long term field experiments. For parametrization and validation of specific processes and relationships additional field measurements are planned.

Our ultimate goal is to develop a model-based Tier 3 N2O inventory for national GHG reporting under the UNFCCC. Furthermore, a well-calibrated and evaluated model can also be employed to predict the impact of mitigation-practices at the country level (simulation of scenarios) and to guide locally adapted agricultural management.

This can support policies to curb agricultural GHG emissions. These shall be reduced to at least one third until 2050 compared to 1990 according to the climate strategy of the Swiss federal office for agriculture.

The project is funded by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment.

Further information available at: [email protected]

Total N2O-Emissions in Switzerland according to the Swiss GHG-Inventory submitted in 2016 using Tier 1 emission factor for N2O-Emissions from agricultural soils (Source: Meteotest; Bern, Switzerland).
August 13, 2020   •   Events

13/08/2020 - 19/01/2021

Online at 11am CST

Register here