Dr. Jessica Chiartas

I am a Soil Biogeochemist digging into the long-term impacts of soil health management on productivity, profitability, and the provision of ecosystem services; across the diversity of California soils, climates, and cropping systems. Through participatory research and multi-stakeholder engagement, I seek to drive discovery around the context-specific implementation of climate-, water-, and nutrient-smart management systems.


My research focuses on the long-term impacts of agricultural management on soil health and ecosystem services (i.e. carbon sequestration, water storage, crop nutrition).


In an increasingly polarizing world, I seek to build bridges; bringing people together on common ground and facilitating a two-way exchange between science and society.


Soil is the final frontier! Just like NASA inspired a generation of space explorers, I strive to inspire the next generation of soil explorers -- for the benefit of all!

What is Soil Health?

Soil health is the capacity of soil to function as a vital, living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. While many soil properties are inherent and can’t change on a human time scale (i.e. texture), others are dynamic and are directly influenced by management (i.e structure, organic matter).

How is it Measured?

There are a variety of lab-based and in-field tests that land managers can use to evaluate the health of their soil (common indicators below). A combination of physical, chemical, and biological indicators should be used, but ultimately, the ideal suite depends on the context — region, climate, soil type — and the outcomes or goals one hopes to achieve.





soil organic matter

nutrient concentrations




water holding capacity

bulkĀ density

microbial biomass
and diversity

earthworms/ invertebrates


Soils are Diverse!

Just like you and I, soils are made from a diversity of different parent materials (i.e. residual bedrock, transported sediment). Over time, the physical environment (i.e. climate), the biological community — and in recent history, the way they are managed — informs their development, leading to a diversity of soils across the landscape. As a result, the best suite of practices and the ecological outcomes vary from soil to soil — even within a single field!

Parent Material
Previous slide
Next slide

Road to Soil Health

Contact us – By Phone: 310-579-2901 or Email: [email protected]