Related ATTRA Publication:
Agriculture, Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration
Stanford University scientists have recently published their work on soil carbon-storage potential. The researchers found that agricultural management practices like reduced tillage, year-round livestock forage, and compost application could increase soil's carbon storage enough to offset future carbon emissions from thawing permafrost. In the course of their work, the team found that about 70% of all sequestered carbon in the top meter of soil is in lands directly affected by agriculture, grazing, or forest management, so management changes have the potential to lead to significantly more carbon storage. The study also found that plant roots are ﬁve times more likely than leaves to turn into soil organic matter, indicating that perennial crops with their deep root systems could store more carbon than annual crops. The scientists call for a renewed push to gather significantly more data on carbon in the soil and learn more about the role it plays in sequestering carbon.