MRCSP research was conducted during Phase II or the Validation Phase by researchers from the Ohio State University School of Natural Resources to quantify the effectiveness of conservation tillage on cropland for storing carbon in the soil.
The MRCSP identified the major land types within each state, some of which extend across broad regions and multiple states. These large areas of similar land types are known as Major Land Resource Areas (MLRAs). The MLRA boundaries in five of the MRCSP states are shown on the maps below.
The partnership identified MLRAs in the region that had a large surface area and a high potential for carbon sequestration. Multiple test sites located within the various MLRAs were selected for soil sample collection and analysis to evaluate the rates and magnitude of soil carbon sequestration in relation to principal management systems widely adopted by the famers in the MRCSP Region.
Soil samples were taken from farms using conventional till and no-till methods, as well as from woodlots that were used to understand the baseline measurements for that area. More than 780 samples were collected overall.
Data from these sites are being used by scientists to ascertain how much carbon can be stored in cropland by simply switching farming practices. This information will be extrapolated for the MLRA in the state and then scaled up for the entire MLRA. Collectively, the sampling sites in this project effectively represent the major soil types across the original seven-state region of the MRCSP.