Agricultural research by Boston College’s Harrison
Kevin G. Harrison, an assistant professor in Boston College’s Geology and Geophysics Department, has published new research on a farming technique that can both increase crop yields and reduce the release of carbons that develop into greenhouse gases. In the book Changing Land Use and Terrestrial Carbon Storage, Harrison and his co-authors, Michelle Segal (BC master’s degree in 2003) and Matthew Hoskins (BC bachelor’s degree in 2000) of the University of Wyoming, describe the results of a study of various farming techniques and their impact on crop production and the environment.
The researchers studied three different methods of soybean farming: conservation (no-till drilling); conventional tillage, and organic farming. Their findings showed that the conservation method produced the highest crop yield, 15% more than conventional tillage and 110% more than organic farming. It also held the most carbon in the soil--41% more soil carbon than conventional tillage and 48% more than organic. This catching and holding of soil carbon, called sequestration, keeps carbon from being incorporated into carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
Kathleen Sullivan | EurekAlert!
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