I am curious, what people could do with a small piece of land like their home backyard (say originally it is a regular lawn smaller than 20m^2, in temperate continental climate (so pretty harsh)) to help fight climate change.

Intuitively, we might think fast-growing trees are the best carbon accumulator (e.g. hybrid poplar is a famous one). Wood is nonetheless very stable carbon but it may be an incomplete picture if we focus on the aboveground growth metrics only. As a matter of fact, most stable soil carbon as recent research has shown is root-derived (dead root as well as root exudates)[1][2][3]. Other things like mycorrhizae and dispersing litter also come into play which results in a larger radius of impact on soil carbon. Also, the backyard is preferably minimally managed with no synthetic products needed (which also come with its own carbon footprint).

I would be glad if someone can shed some light on this complicated matter. Answers with scientific evidence and an estimated amount of carbon sequestered (say per year) will be very appreciated :)


[1]Sokol, Noah W., et al. "Evidence for the primacy of living root inputs, not root or shoot litter, in forming soil organic carbon." New Phytologist 221.1 (2019): 233-246.

[2]Lange, Markus, et al. "Plant diversity increases soil microbial activity and soil carbon storage." Nature communications 6 (2015): 6707.

[3]Treseder, Kathleen K., and Sandra R. Holden. "Fungal carbon sequestration." Science 339.6127 (2013): 1528-1529.


This article (and the "Part two" it links to) gives a lot of technical detail and some practical advice: Why Not Start Today: Backyard Carbon Sequestration Is Something Nearly Everyone Can Do.

In brief: you want plants which put nutrients into the soil so that you end up with a dark rich soil which contains a lot of nutrients, including carbon. And, of course, you do this by making a good choice of plants ... judging from the pictures you want native perennial flowers rather than trees.


GRASS, is an excellent carbon accumulator. But our mowing practices make it less practical. Grow your grass, let it grow to a high height then mow it. More time for growth permits longer, more thicker roots which stores more carbon.

  • 2
    Referenced data stating the carbon sequestration rate for different grasses for a given area of grass would significantly improve this answer.
    – Fred
    Oct 23 '20 at 8:44

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