Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Beneficial effects of no-till farming depend upon future climate change

14.10.2005


By storing carbon in their fields through no-till farming practice, farmers can help countries meet targeted reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide and reduce the harmful effects of global warming.



Growing plants take carbon dioxide from the air and store it as carbon in their tissues. Most of this carbon is returned to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide when crops are harvested and consumed. Some carbon, however, can be permanently stored, or sequestered, in the soil as organic matter. Changes in land management can potentially increase the accumulation of organic carbon in soil.

The amount of carbon stored in soils also depends on how the climate changes and how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere, say researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.


"Our research focuses on the feasibility of different sequestration schemes for reducing natural emissions of carbon dioxide or enhancing the natural uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide," said Atul Jain, a U. of I. professor of atmospheric sciences and lead author of a paper published in the Oct. 12 issue of Geophysical Research Letters. "Converting from conventional plow tillage to no-till practice is among the most cost-effective ways to reduce the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."

To study the effect of changes in climate and atmospheric carbon dioxide on soil carbon sequestration, the researchers used a new Earth-system model called the Integrated Science Assessment Model. Developed by Jain and his graduate students, the model includes the complex physical and chemical interactions among carbon-dioxide emissions, climate change, carbon-dioxide uptake by plants and oceans, and changes in farming practices.

About 18 percent of cropland in the United States and about 30 percent of cropland in Canada is under no-till, Jain said. By not tilling their fields, farmers can save labor and fuel costs, reduce soil erosion and preserve precious nutrients. No-till also increases the accumulation of soil organic carbon, thereby resulting in sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Changes in no-till land management were simulated with and without changes in climate and carbon dioxide levels over the period 1981 to 2000. All model simulations were based upon the actual adoption of no-till practices on U.S. and Canadian farms.

"Comparing the model results with and without changes in carbon dioxide and climate allows us to estimate the impact of recent changes in climate and carbon dioxide on soil carbon sequestration," Jain said. "Over the period 1981 to 2000, 868 million tons of carbon were stored in solids under no-till farming. Five percent of this carbon storage comes about because climate change and increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide accelerate carbon storage in soil. Future increases in no-till could sequester enough carbon to satisfy nearly one-fifth of the total U.S. reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions called for by the Kyoto Protocol."

The effects of climate change on carbon storage will vary from place to place because of differences in how soil moisture and soil temperature change as the climate warms, Jain said. In general, in central and western Canada, the eastern United States, and portions of Florida and Texas, carbon sequestration may increase. In other areas, such as Illinois, climate change will reduce the amount of sequestered carbon.

"Climate change will reduce the gains in the carbon storage from no-till in some areas, but there is still a net gain in stored carbon," Jain said. "In the future, farmers could receive credit for the carbon sequestered in their fields under a carbon-trading arrangement such as has been proposed for the Kyoto Protocol."

Co-authors of the paper were Oak Ridge scientists Tristram West and Wilfred Post, and Illinois graduate student Xiaojuan Yang.

James E. Kloeppel, | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>