Keith Paustian

Farm greenhouse gas cycle
Retaining Stubble in No Till farming
Picture of COMET group with USDA Secretary Vilsack
Native Grass Parcel on Map
Men in field

Curriculum Vitae

Keith H. Paustian
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences & Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
Phone: (970) 491-1547
Fax: (970) 491-1965


Colorado State University, Fort Collins     Forest Biology                    B.Sc., 1977

Colorado State University, Fort Collins     Forest Ecology                   M.Sc., 1980

Swedish U. Agric. Sciences, Uppsala        Systems Ecology               Ph.D., 1987

Professional Experience

2017-present      University Distinguished Professor, Dept. Soil and Crop Science, Colo. St. Univ.

2001-present      Professor, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Colo. State Univ.

1996-present      Senior Research Scientist, Natural Resource Ecology Lab, Colo. State Univ.

1993-1995           Research Scientist, NREL, Colorado State University

1991-1993            Research Asst. Prof., W.K. Kellogg Biol. Sta., Michigan State Univ.

1989-1990           Research Assoc., W.K. Kellogg Biol. Sta., Michigan State Univ.

1987-1989            Research Sci., Dept. Ecol. and Environ. Res., Swedish U. of Agric. Sciences


Convening Lead Author – IPCC 2006 Guidelines for National GHG Inventories

Convening Lead Author – IPCC Good Practice Guidelines for National GHG Inventory Reporting

Task Force Leader for Council on Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) report on Agriculture and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Lead Author – IPCC Special Report on Landuse, Landuse Change and Forestry

U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Steering Group Member

National Academy of Science Committee on Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions (2009-10)

National Academy of Science Committee on Research Agenda for Carbon-dioxide Removal (2017-18)

Fellow – Soil Science Society of America

Research Interest

My main area of research deals with soil organic matter dynamics and carbon and nitrogen cycling in managed ecosystems with a specific focus on modeling, field measurement and development of assessment tools for soil carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions from soils. My current research activities include development of the 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 GHG assessment of sustainable land management projects in developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia (  I also serve 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. Other research areas include assessment of agricultural climate change mitigation strategies, evaluation of environmental impacts of bioenergy production, soil organic matter dynamics, and agroecosystem ecology.

Selected Publications (last 3 years)

Nguyen, T. H., S. Williams, and K. Paustian. 2017. Impact of ecosystem carbon stock change on greenhouse gas emissions and carbon payback periods of cassava-based ethanol in Vietnam. Biomass & Bioenergy 100:126-137.

Alvaro-Fuentes, J., J. L. Arrue, A. Bielsa, C. Cantero-Martinez, D. Plaza-Bonilla, and K. Paustian. 2017. Simulating climate change and land use effects on soil nitrous oxide emissions in Mediterranean conditions using the Daycent model. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 238:78-88.

Conant, R. T., C. E. P. Cerri, B. B. Osborne, and K. Paustian. 2017. Grassland management impacts on soil carbon stocks: a new synthesis. Ecological Applications 27:662-668.

Oliveira, D. M. D., K. Paustian, C. A. Davies, M. R. Cherubin, A. L. C. Franco, C. C. Cerri, and C. E. P. Cerri. 2016. Soil carbon changes in areas undergoing expansion of sugarcane into pastures in south-central Brazil. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 228:38-48.

Oliveira, D. M. S., S. Williams, C. E. P. Cerri, and K. Paustian. 2017. Predicting soil C changes over sugarcane expansion in Brazil using the DayCent model. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 9:1436-1446.

Paustian, K., J. Lehmann, S. Ogle, D. Reay, G.P. Robertson and P. Smith. 2016.  Climate smart soils.  Nature 532:49-57.

Chambers, A. R. Lal and K. Paustian. 2016.  Soil carbon sequestration potential of US croplands and grasslands: Implementing the 4 per thousand initiative.  J. Soil Water Conserv. 71:68A-74A.

Field, J.L., E. Marx, M. Easter, P. Adler and K. Paustian. 2016. Ecosystem model parameterization and adaptation for sustainable cellulosic biofuel landscape design.  Global Change Biology Bioenergy 8:1106-1123.

Lugato, E., K. Paustian, P. Panos, A. Jones, and P. Borrelli. 2016. Quantifying the erosion effect on current carbon budget of European agricultural soils at high spatial resolution.  Global Change Biology 22:1976-1984.

Borrelli, P., K. Paustian, P. Panagos, A. Jones, B. Schutt and E. Lugato. 2016. Effect of Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions on erosion and soil organic carbon balance: A national case study.  Land Use Policy 50: 408-421.

Ogle, S. M., B. A. McCarl, J. Baker, S. J. Del Grosso, P. R. Adler, K. Paustian, and W. J. Parton. 2016. Managing the nitrogen cycle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from crop production and biofuel expansion. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 21:1197-1212.

Nichols, K.L., S.J. DelGrosso, J.D. Derner, R.F. Follett, S.L. Archibeque, C.E. Stewart and K. H. Paustian. 2016. Nitrous oxide and methane fluxes from cattle excrement on C3 pasture and C4-dominated shortgrass steppe.  Ag. Ecosys. Environ. 225:104-115.

Alexander, P., Paustian, K., Smith, P., and Moran, D. 2015. The economics of soil C sequestration and agricultural emissions abatement. SOIL 1:331-339.

Campbell, E. and K. Paustian. 2015. Current developments in soil organic matter modeling and the expansion of model applications: a review.   Environmental Research Letters 10 (1-36) 123004.

Brandini, C.B., T.F. Abbruzzini, S. Williams, M. Easter, C.E.P. Cerri and K. Paustian. 2015. Simulation of management and soil interactions impacting SOC dynamics in sugarcane using the Century Model.  Glob. Change Biol. Bioenergy 7:646-657.

Mello, F.F.C., C.E.P. Cerri, C.A. Davies, N.M. Holbrook, K. Paustian, S.M.F. Maia, M.V. Galdos, M. Bernoux and C.C. Cerri.  2014. Payback time for soil carbon and sugar-cane ethanol. Nature Climate Change 4:605-609.

Sheehan, J.J., P.R. Adler, S.J. DelGrosso, M. Easter, W. Parton, K. Paustian and S. Williams. 2014. CO2 emissions from crop residue derived biofuels. Nature Climate Change 4:932-933.

Ogle, S. M., L. Olander, L. Wollenberg, T. Rosenstock, F. Tubiello, K. Paustian, L. Buendia, A. Nihart and P. Smith. 2014. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting agricultural management for climate change in developing countries: providing the basis for action. Global Change Biology 20(1): 1-6.

Six, J. and K. Paustian. 2014. Aggregate-associated soil organic matter as an ecosystem property and a measurement tool. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 68:A4-A9.

Frazao, L.A., K. Paustian, C.E.P. Cerri and C.C. Cerri. 2014. Soil carbon stocks under oil palm plantations in Bahia State, Brazil. Biomass & Bioenergy. 62:1-7.

Campbell E.E., J.M.F. Johnson, V.L. Jin, R.M. Lehman, S.L. Osborne G.E. Varvel and K. Paustian. 2014. Assessing the soil carbon, biomass production, and nitrous oxide emission impact of corn stover management for bioenergy feedstock production using DAYCENT. Bioenergy Research 7(2):491-502.

Frazão, L.A., K. Paustian C.E.P. Cerri and C.C. Cerri. 2013.  Soil carbon stocks and changes after oil palm introduction in the Brazilian Amazon.  Glob. Change Biol. Bioenergy 5:384-390.

Milne, E., Neufeldt, H., Rosenstock, T., Smalligan, M., Cerri, C. E., Malin, D., Easter, M., Bernoux, M., Ogle, S., Casarim, F., Pearson, T., Bird, D. N., Steglich, E., Ostwald, M., Denef, K. and Paustian, K. 2013. Methods for the quantification of GHG emissions at the landscape level for developing countries in smallholder contexts. Environmental Research Letters 8(1).

Paustian, K. 2013. Bridging the data gap: engaging developing country farmers in greenhouse gas accounting. Environmental Research Letters 8(2).

Suddick, E. C., M. K. Ngugi, K. Paustian and J. Six. 2013. Monitoring soil carbon will prepare growers for a carbon trading system. California Agriculture 67(3): 162-171.

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