March 21, 2012--Working from the ground up (Telluride Daily Planet)

Think about what you would do with 160 acres of land along the lower Dolores River in Paradox Valley. Keep in mind that approximately 60 percent of that land is inhabited by invasive plants — mostly tamarisk and knapweed. Landowner Vicki Phelps’ solution is to experiment, with the support of the Soil Carbon Coalition, an organization that is helping to change the way people think about land management practices, starting with soil. “I’m looking at how we can improve the production and general health of this land,” said Phelps on Monday. She’s working with a number of organizations, and using her own creativity and innovative spirit. Phelps last weekend worked with Peter Donovan, a member of the Soil Carbon Coalition (, which is working to “put the carbon back where it belongs,” in the soil, which the website says is “the future of agriculture.” It’s the past, too, and part of the SCC’s education program it helping landowners see how the most current and accepted land management practices are actually reducing the carbon in the soil. “Soils are the hub of the circle of life, which is the carbon cycle,” said Donovan.

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