Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Chris Ruehl


In recent years, research has been developed for the use of compost combined with managed grazing (and manure) on grasslands (DeLonge et al, 2013) or rangelands, resulting in carbon sequestration from the atmosphere back into soil at a relatively high rate . The Marin Carbon Project (MCP) was established as a collaborative effort to analyze the potential effects of this technique for greenhouse gas mitigation. The MCP established that combining compost applications with managed livestock grazing benefits the soil health and native plant community, while simultaneously enabling carbon sequestration through the mechanisms of plant production and microbial activity. Additional recent research from the MCP included modeling of a sizeable greenhouse gas mitigation potential via this method that could contribute to the fight against climate change using natural materials and local resources, while considering offset variables such as emissions produced by transportation or mastication.

This type of carbon farming that combines compost with managed grazing could be an important tool for combatting the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change, which means that compost use is no longer just an issue of intelligent waste management design or agricultural use. By considering compost availability, organic waste production and recycling, and where various compost applications should take place, this paper seeks to create a more successful regional based system than what would occur on its own through ad hoc policy implementation. Ultimately, this research analysis will inform a compost and land use management plan that directly supports state climate goals and many other aspects of environmental sustainability. It is therefore the main intent of this project to analyze the techniques proposed by the Marin Carbon Project for carbon sequestration via compost and grazing animals, and the potential benefits this system could have if adopted on a regional scale. By using Geographic Information System (GIS) map layers available from US Geological Survey (USGS), US Census, CalRecycle, and others to identify rangelands, grasslands, and land use management, data on carbon sequestration and global warming potential can be spatially extrapolated to illustrate the benefits this method could have on a larger scale.