The Foundation of Life

Estimated Microbial Biomass mg/Kg of Carbon

“Microbiological activity in the soil under  a pine plantation is less than any other  land cover.”

An active soil microbiology is essential to the full functioning of any ecosystem, in particular nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. The vegetation of the site plays a vital role in this.
At TAHI we have undertaken detailed soil analysis. The science shows that microbiological activity in the soil under a pine plantation is the least biologically active.

The Old-Growth Forest has the highest activity as these soils will likely have the most diverse range of microbes. It is reassuring
that The Planted Forest soils show similar levels of microbial
activity, which suggests that they quickly develop a diverse microbiological profile.

Soil Carbon: The Forgotten Sequester

Soil Carbon in Top 30cm
Ton CO2e/ha

“The TAHI living eco-lab has proven that soil carbon sequestration is profoundly related to the type of tree and ecosystem it creates.”

Soil Carbon: Nature’s
Secret Storehouse

The Kyoto Protocol brought a considerable distortion into how we view carbon storage and sequestration. Essentially, unless it was planted, it didn’t count, and only above-ground growth was counted. This was irrespective of the below-ground portion of a tree being equivalent to about 20% of the above-ground.


CO2 in TAHI soil & wetlands


More CO2 in Old Forest Soil vs Pine Forest Soil
TAHI’s research on patterns of below-ground carbon pools reveals that carbon sequestration and storage are profoundly related to the type of tree and the ecosystem it creates. The data shows TAHI’s ‘Old Growth Forest’ soils contain the most carbon, which when combined with the massive amounts of above-ground carbon, makes them very important ecosystems. This is followed closely by the ‘Planted Forest’ which demonstrates nature’s incredible ability
to self-regenerate.

The soil carbon - measured under a neighbouring properties pine plantation - recorded half the amount of carbon store than TAHI’s Old Growth Forest. In the case of pine plantations, every 30 years there is a massive disturbance to the soil as the ‘felling, clearing, replanting’ cycle turns. Inevitably there will be loss of soil carbon and 30 years is not enough time to build it right back up again. Through science-based evidence, we hope to raise awareness of the rich potential of soil carbon in mitigating climate change.

Root Systems

Looking up, it is obvious tree size will affect spacing in a restoration project. An equally crucial aspect lies beneath the surface - the intricate and often
overlooked root systems.