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The need for knowledge transfer and communication among stakeholders in the voluntary carbon market


The voluntary carbon market for agricultural soil carbon sequestration is accelerating at a rapid pace with over a dozen companies and marketplaces having recently announced carbon crediting programs. These programs aim to bring verified carbon credits into the market using published measurement, reporting, and verification protocols. Given the varied approaches to measuring and accounting for changes in soil carbon represented among these different protocols, there is significant uncertainty whether a credit generated in one market has any equivalency to a credit generated in another program. We see a critical need for scientists to play an active role in helping guide protocol development and to conduct relevant research. To that end, we identify important areas where confusion about protocols and their implementation hamper progress on this front, and highlight key areas for improved communication and transparency between market stakeholders and the research community.

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Fig. 1

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We thank Doria Gordon and Caroline Masiello for review and feedback on this manuscript.


This work was supported by gifts to EDF from the Bezos Earth Fund and Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.

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All authors contributed to the ideas presented in the manuscript. The first draft of the manuscript was written by EEO and all authors contributed to further refinement and editing. JML made the figure.

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Correspondence to Emily E. Oldfield.

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The authors declare they have no conflicting or competing interests with respect to the viewpoints presented in this manuscript.

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Responsible Editor: Kate Lajtha.

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Oldfield, E.E., Lavallee, J.M., Kyker-Snowman, E. et al. The need for knowledge transfer and communication among stakeholders in the voluntary carbon market. Biogeochemistry (2022).

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  • Carbon markets
  • Carbon sequestration
  • MRV protocols
  • Soil carbon sequestration
  • SOC models