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Potential of temperate agricultural soils for carbon sequestration: A meta-analysis of land-use effects

  • Restoring depleted soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks of arable land to remove carbon from the atmosphere and offset fossil fuel emissions is a promising strategy for the mitigation of climate change. In agroecosystems conservational tillage practices and the abandonment of formerly plowed fields (ex-arable land) are shown to have the highest potential to sequester SOC. Nevertheless reported sequestration rates vary and the effects of environmental site conditions remain poorly understood. Our results are based on a meta-analysis of 273 paired SOC estimates from 65 publications which included only mineral soils from the temperate zone. SOC stocks of ex-arable grasslands with an average of 14 years since abandonment were 18% larger compared to the SOC of arable land. Likewise, SOC stocks of never-plowed grassland plots were 11% larger than the SOC stocks of abandoned fields. The average sequestration rate was 0.72 t C ha− 1 yr− 1. Semi-arid and sub-humid climate as well as low initial SOC stocks positively affected proportional SOC gains suggesting that the recovery of carbon stocks is not limited by low primary production. Therefore, the northward shift of cultivation areas in the temperate zone will lead to the abandonment of soils with high SOC recovery potential. However, if native soils are opened up elsewhere to compensate for yield losses due to abandonment the surplus of SOC in ex-arable land can easily be overcompensated by cultivation losses.

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Author:Immo Kämpf, Norbert Hölzel, Maria Störrle, Gabriele Broll, Kathrin KiehlORCiD
Title (English):Potential of temperate agricultural soils for carbon sequestration: A meta-analysis of land-use effects
Parent Title (English):Science of The Total Environment
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2016
electronic ID:Zur Anzeige in scinos
Release Date:2023/11/13
Tag:Agricultural abandonment; Carbon sequestration; Ex-arable; No-till farming; SOC
First Page:428
Last Page:435
Zugriff im Hochschulnetz
Faculties:Fakultät AuL
DDC classes:500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 500 Naturwissenschaften
Review Status:Veröffentlichte Fassung/Verlagsversion