Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems

California Agricultural Resiliency Index

screenshot of the CaRI California map

The California Agricultural Resiliency Index (CaRI) project was created to establish an existing conditions report for “resiliency” factors for California lands to help agricultural landowners and policy makers pinpoint problem areas and figure out how to address them for long-term food and water security and economic resilience in the face of an increase of extreme weather incidents due to shifts in climate. A model was designed to create resiliency index scores using publicly available databases and including numerous parameters from the fields of agriculture, soil science, hydrology, and ecology. It currently can provide information down to a 10 acre resolution with a readout of score components with problem areas identified. In the next phase of development it will be able to show the potential impacts of specific remediation measures through either conservation or agricultural practices. For policy makers, the CaRI index will show the most cost-effective areas of California to invest in for carbon sequestration potential to achieve the state’s climate action priorities and build a climate resilient economy. For farmers and ranchers, it will provide detailed information that can be used to get funding for implementing conservation and agricultural practices to improve the health and economic resilience of their farm or ranch system. The regional land managers, the tool can aggregate information on a county level.

Resiliency is defined as the ability to weather climate-related difficulties. Areas of low resilience, for instance, would be those most vulnerable to soil erosion, drought, and climate induced land degradation. Higher indexing areas are considered to be more resilient with greater potential for enhanced soil health and carbon sequestration, although improvements in resilience for properties with a low score could certainly be made. In fact, in the second phase of this project, users will be able to input specific climate smart production practices (such as cover crops, compost, no-till soil management, etc.) and get an updated resiliency estimate that will also include potential greenhouse gas reductions and soil carbon accrual (permanent carbon sequestration) potential. The model will be able to calculate a cost estimate for conservation practice implementation based on the reimbursement rates published on the California Department of Food & Agriculture Healthy Soils Program website. Cost accounting will include a “return on investment” based on the amount of carbon sequestered/acre/conservation practice dollars invested. The third phase of the project will provide tools for creating soil health management, conservation, grazing management, or carbon farming plans.

cari data input flowchart

Visit the CaRI tool beta(opens in new window)

Watch the instructional video(opens in new window).

Try out the CaRI Beta

cari data input flowchart

This is a beta release of the Resilience Explorer, designed to allow users to interact with benchmarked resiliency values at grid, parcel, and user-defined area of interest scales. 

Watch the CaRi Instructional Video
screenshot of instructional video
CaRI Resilience Explorer

The Resilience Explorer on the CaRI beta site (see above) allows you to find a parcel by address, APN parcel number, or by drawing on a map. It then gives you a Resiliency Score with multiple parameters.

resilience explorer

Clicking on any parameter reveals a dropdown list with more details.

dropdown list

You can then explore different scenarios such as crops to be grown or regenerative practices to be used to see how that changes different aspects of the resiliency score.

resiliency score under a different set of practices.

In this example, red scores indicating a problem turned to green by changing tillage practice to no-till.