Soil and crop management and carbon sequestration

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Source: Soil Science Society of America

Research results from management scenarios ranging from those in the South Eastern, Great Plains, and Upper Midwest regions of the US and from Italy are reported in the March-April, 2010 issue of the Soil Science Society America Journal.

This group of papers originated from the Soil Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Symposium that was held jointly by the Soil Science Society of America and Geological Society of America in Houston, TX in October of 2008.  Land-use practices, such as cultivation, livestock grazing, manure management, and fertilization can strongly contribute to sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere as soil organic carbon (SOC) into the soil and also to the emission of other GHGs, such as nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) into the atmosphere.  This group of manuscripts is introduced by an overview of agricultural sources of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the US.

Important papers in this special section, from the Soil Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Symposium, identified above include descriptions of technologies with a potential to increase SOC sequestration. Manuscripts included address SOC sequestration in the Great Plains, South Eastern US and under urban turfgrass in the Midwest US.  Simulation of long-term SOC dynamics using the CQESTR computer model is illustrated using data from a long-term study that was initiated in 1979 in mid-Coastal Plain region of South Carolina.
 
Agricultural soil management in the US is the major source of N2O emissions while managed livestock waste is another important source for both N2O and CH4 emissions.
 
Manuscripts from the symposium that address N2O include a description of the affect of green manure and compost fertilization following corn, GHG emission from contrasting soil and crop management scenarios, a comparison of N-fertilizer sources in the Northern Corn Belt, and information about GHG emissions from swine effluent applied to soil by different methods.
 
An important contribution of the symposium includes those manuscripts that provide information about the effectiveness of enhanced-efficiency N-fertilizers to maintain crop yields for potato in the Northern Corn Belt, and for irrigated cropping systems in the Central Great Plains.  An economic assessment of GHG mitigation in the final manuscript from this symposium indicates that producers cannot only decrease their GHG warming potential, but also have an economic incentive to switch from conventional tillage to no-tillage practices for irrigated cropping systems in the Central Great Plains.
 
Adapted from the Carbon Sequestration & Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Symposium to be published in the Soil Science Society of America Journal.

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