Measuring and monitoring soil organic carbon stocks in agricultural lands for climate mitigation

Conant, Richard T., Ogle, Stephen M, Paul, Eldor A., & Paustian, Keith (2011) Measuring and monitoring soil organic carbon stocks in agricultural lands for climate mitigation. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 9(3), pp. 169-173.

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Policies that encourage greenhouse-gas emitters to mitigate emissions through terrestrial carbon (C) offsets – C sequestration in soils or biomass – will promote practices that reduce erosion and build soil fertility, while fostering adaptation to climate change, agricultural development, and rehabilitation of degraded soils. However none of these benefits will be possible until changes in C stocks can be documented accurately and cost-effectively. This is particularly challenging when dealing with changes in soil organic C (SOC) stocks. Precise methods for measuring C in soil samples are well established, but spatial variability in the factors that determine SOC stocks makes it difficult to document change. Widespread interest in the benefits of SOC sequestration has brought this issue to the fore in the development of US and international climate policy. Here, we review the challenges to documenting changes in SOC stocks, how policy decisions influence offset documentation requirements, and the benefits and drawbacks of different sampling strategies and extrapolation methods.

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ID Code: 46180
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1890/090153
ISSN: 1540-9295
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > SOIL SCIENCES (050300) > Carbon Sequestration Science (050301)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Institutes > Institute for Sustainable Resources
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Ecological Society of America.
Deposited On: 28 Sep 2011 02:13
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2015 02:40

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