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Keith Paustian

Portrait of Keith PaustianSoil Ecology

University Distinguished Professor


970-491-1547 office/ 970-491-1965 fax




Keith Paustian is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and Senior Research Scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University.  A major focus of his work involves modeling, field measurement and development of assessment tools for soil carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions from soils. He has published over 280 journal articles and book chapters. Previous and current research activities include development of models and inventory methodology used to estimate US soil C and N2O emissions that are reported annually by EPA to the UNFCCC; development of a web-based tool (COMET-FarmTM) for estimating on-farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and carbon sequestration used by USDA ( and project-scale systems for GHG assessment of sustainable land management projects in developing countries (  He also serves as project director for the Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies (BANR – which is a consortium of universities, industry and the US Forest Service, researching the potential for sustainable bioenergy production from beetle-kill trees and forest residues.  Professional service activities include Coordinating Lead Author for the IPCC 2006 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Methods and the IPCC 2003 Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) and two National Academy of Science committees (in 2010 and 2018) related to land use, greenhouse gases and climate change mitigation.   He served as a member of the US Carbon Cycle Science Steering Group, which provides expert input to Federal Agencies involved in climate and carbon cycle research.  He also served on the Voluntary Carbon Standard Steering Committee for Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) and on numerous other national and international committees involving climate and carbon cycle research.  He is a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America and 2015 recipient of the Soil Science Society of America’s Outstanding Research Award.


Research Interests:

  • Soil organic matter dynamics
  • Carbon and nitrogen cycling in cropland and grassland ecosystems
  • Assessment of agricultural climate change mitigation strategies
  • Evaluation of environmental impacts of agricultural bioenergy production
  • Soil organic matter dynamics
  • Agroecosystem ecology


Extension and Outreach:

  • Acting as coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) dealing with agriculture and national greenhouse gas inventory methods.
  • Co-chaired a Task Force on ‘Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation: Challenges and Opportunities for Agriculture’ by the Council on Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), and was lead author on a PEW Center report on ‘Agriculture’s Role in Greenhouse Gas Mitigation’.
  • Serves on the US Carbon Cycle Science Steering Group, which provides expert input to Federal Agencies involved in climate and carbon cycle research, and a National Academy of Sciences panel evaluating GHG measurement methods.
  • Serves on the Chicago Climate Change science advisory board, the 25X25 advisory board and the Soil Science Society of America Greenhouse Gas Working Group.
Curriculum Vitae

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