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A Penn State University researcher says cover crops can play an important role in climate-change mitigation and adaptation. Cover-cropping initiatives in Pennsylvania and central Spain showed that cover-crop effects on greenhouse-gas fluxes typically mitigate warming by 100 to 150 grams of carbon per square meter per year. Surface albedo change -- the proportion of energy from sunlight reflecting off of farm fields due to cover cropping -- may mitigate 12 to 46 grams of carbon per square meter per year over a 100-year time horizon. Cover crops can provide these ecosystem services simultaneously with the soil-health benefits they are already known to provide. The research was published in Agronomy for Sustainable Development.
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