The potential for global agriculture to become a positive net-contributor in reducing carbon emissions will be a key focus of a landmark summit being held in Sydney next week.

As part of its Dow Sustainability Program, The United States Studies Centre in collaboration with the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Sydney will host leading soil and plant scientists from the USA, Canada, Europe, UK and Australasia as they discuss one of the great challenges facing the world: the restoration of carbon depleted soils in order to ensure future food production and mitigate climate change.

The first three days will be an invitation only Science Summit attended by leading soil and plant scientists. The fourth day (3 February) will be a Stakeholder Workshop at which the findings of the Science Summit will be presented to a wider audience of government, research and development organisations, policy makers, farmers and industry.

The main objective of the summit is to devise strategies to:

  • Enhance existing models of soil carbon measurement and the biological process of soil carbon sequestration
  • Better understand what agricultural practices are needed to promote the uptake of carbon in soil
  • Increase soil productivity to enable food supplies to meet ever-growing global demand
  • Translate scientific knowledge about soils into improved water retention and less erosion, particularly in light of extreme weather events such as Australia's recent large-scale floods
  • Attract political and financial support for soil carbon projects

Speakers at the summit will include:

  • Hon. Robert Hill, Chairman, Australian Carbon Trust & Adjunct Professor in Sustainability at the US Studies Centre
  • Professor Rattan Lal, School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University
  • Professor William Parton, Senior Research Scientist, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University
  • Dr Julie Jastrow, Biosciences Division, Argonne National Laboratory
  • Professor Mark Adams, Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, University of Sydney

When: 31 January-3 February, 2011

Where: Australian Technology Park, Redfern

Further information: click here

Media enquiries: Nina Fudala, US Studies Centre M 0409 321 918 E                             

Will Turner, US Studies Centre M 0421 056 896 E