Jonathan Sanderman Ph.D.

  • Associate Scientist
Jonathan Sanderman

Dr. Jonathan Sanderman’s work focuses on the role that soils can play in climate mitigation and sustainable food production. He strives to understand the processes that add, remove, and transform carbon in soils, ranging from coastal marshes to tropical forests and working farmlands. Throughout his career, he has uncovered under-recognized complexity in soil carbon reservoirs. Dr. Sanderman’s research encompasses both place-based, experimental work and large-scale computer modeling.

Dr. Jon Sanderman holding handful of soil

Left: Collecting soil water in the Caspar Creek experimental watershed, northern California,

Right: Learning about community based natural farming in Andhra Pradesh, India.

In 2017, Dr. Sanderman led efforts to produce the first estimate of the global soil carbon debt created by thousands of years of agriculture. Currently, much of Dr. Sanderman’s attention is focused on developing high-quality, cost-effective methods for measuring soil carbon to support carbon markets in the agricultural sector. He works with a diverse group of partners and collaborators in industry, academia, and environmental advocacy.

When he’s not immersed in soil, Dr. Sanderman can be found enjoying the ocean or mountains with his family.

On a global scale, soils store 3-5 times as much carbon as trees. But it’s not just the amount. The form carbon is in is really important, and soil carbon is one of the most complex.