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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GRACENET: AN ASSESSMENT OF SOIL CARBON SEQUESTRATION AND GREENHOUSE GAS MITIGATION BY AGRICULTURAL MANAGEMENT

Location: Soil Plant Nutrient Research (SPNR)

2010 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1. Evaluate the soil C status and direction of change of soil C in existing typical and alternative agricultural systems.

2. Determine net GHG emission (CO2, CH4 and N2O) of current agricultural systems in existing typical and alternative agricultural systems.

3. Determine the environmental effects (water, air and soil quality) of the new agricultural systems developed to reduce GHG emission and increase soil C storage.

Note: All participating units will address Objective 1. Those units with the capacity to measure trace gases will also address Objective 2. While those with the capacity to measure other environmental parameters will also address Objective 3. Scenarios 1 and 2 correspond to Objective 1, Scenario 3 corresponds to Objective 2 and Scenario 4 corresponds to Objective 3.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The GRACEnet experimental concept is based on four location-specific scenarios or treatments: What is the C accumulation rate under typical agricultural management practices? These business as usual systems should be economically viable or at least used by the majority of producers that are able to continue in production agriculture in that area of the country. Each unit will determine the number of sub-treatments it will research, since there may be many variations on typical practices within a geographic area. Maximizing C sequestration rate. What has to be done to achieve the highest rate of sequestration in that production system? These treatments may be either economically feasible or technically feasible. The only constraint is that they remain in a agriculturally feasible production system. Each unit will determine the number of sub treatments it will research, since there will be many variations on practices to potentially maximize C sequestration.

Minimizing net GHG emission: This system differs from #2 because N2O and CH4 emission must also be considered. How does this management scenario compare with #2? What is the sequestration rate and net GHG balance when all GHG emission are considered? Agriculture is the main source of N2O and CH4 to the atmosphere. Therefore, data will be collected by the units that have the capability and capacity to determine N2O and CH4 on the treatments under study in scenarios 1 and 2. Practices will be developed to decrease the emission of N2O and CH4. Each unit that addresses this scenario will determine the number of sub treatments it will research, since there will be many variations on practices to potentially maximize C sequestration.

Maximizing environmental benefits: Carbon sequestration may well become part of a larger conservation benefit package. Land managers and policy makers will be interested in tradeoffs among management options. With careful management, how can soil C sequestration and GHG emission be balanced with water quality, air quality, and soil quality goals? Units capable of evaluating environmental benefits and C sequestration will be encouraged both to study the individual issue or issues that they can address (water quality, air quality, or soil quality goals) and to collect data that may contribute information that is consistent with the needs of the ‘larger conservation benefit package’ that may be implemented by USDA or other action agencies.

Particpant CRIS #'s: 1265-21660-002-00D; 1275-11210-001-00D; 1265-12130-002-00D; 3625-11000-004-00D; 3645-11000-003-00D; 3640-12000-007-00D; 3602-12220-006-00D; 6420-12610-003-00D; 6420-11120-005-00D; 1915-62660-001-00D; 1902-13000-010-00D; 5407-12130-006-00D;1935-12000-010-00D; 5447-12620-002-00D; 5402-66000-005-00D;5402-11000-008-00L; 5409-11000-003-00D; 5440-12210-050-00D; 5445-11120-001-00D; 5436-13210-004-00D; 1932-12000-004-00D; 5358-21410-002-00D; 5368-12000-008-00D; 5354-21660-001-00D; 5356-12000-009-00D; 5247-11000-008-00D; 5348-11120-003-00D; 5342-13610-007-00D; 6615-11000-007-00D; 6657-12000-005-00D; 6602-13000-024-00D; 6612-11120-003-00D; 6208-12000-009-00D; 6206-11120-004-00D.


3.Progress Report

The GRACEnet project (2005-2009) has accomplished the building of a major ARS effort that includes participation of scientist from 32 ARS locations nationally who collectively have published over 150 scientific publications, developed teams, met annually, tested and adapted new technologies (such as use of enhanced efficiency fertilizers) to decrease emission of nitrous oxide, defined cropping practices to increase soil organic carbon sequestration, established and maintained an information and e-mail server for enhanced communication, and served as a model for possible future research networks, possibly including multinational networks such as for the Global Alliance. The GRACEnet scientists continue to work toward producing products identified in the project plan and establishing a national database. (To locate past and current progress and publications go to the GRACEnet website at: )

a. Database of soil C and trace gas flux for crop, pasture and rangeland systems in the U.S. Database will be a valuable asset for: i) scientists investigating agricultural practices on C sequestration and trace gas flux, ii) for model development and testing, and iii) a foundation for Products 2, 3, 4 of this plan.

b. A database structure is designed and completed that can be used in both MS SQL Server 2005 and with MS Excel (2003). Testing will be conducted to evaluate the compatibility with Excel 2007 and eventually Excel 2010 spreadsheets. In addition to the database design, work on a GRACEnet data dictionary is largely complete and ready for review. Database users and application developers can benefit from an authoritative data dictionary document that catalogs the organization, contents, and conventions of one or more databases. The data dictionary describes over 300 data columns for the 18 tables designed for the GRACEnet database.

c. Regional and national publications and guidelines of management that reduce GHG intensity, applicable for use by producers, federal and state agencies and C brokers. Again as above, it is important that guidelines for management to reduce GHG intensity need to continue to be written and updated as new information emerges and new opportunities to publish is occur.

d. Evaluation and modification of computer models created to assess management effects on net GHG emission. Models such as CQESTR, DAYCENT, and EPIC have been included to assess management effects on net GHG emissions. Summary papers for action agencies and policy makers based on the current state of knowledge.

e. Guidelines for management to reduce GHG intensity need to continue to be written and updated as new information emerges and new opportunities to publish occur. There are over 150 journal paper, book chapters, and books now published with more in the pipeline as we go into the future.


4.Accomplishments
1. GRACEnet data dictionary was completed collaboratively by ARS scientists in Fort Collins, CO and Ames, IA. A database structure design was completed that can be used in both MS SQL Server 2005 and with MS Excel 2003. In addition to the database design, database users and application developers can benefit from an authoritative data dictionary document that catalogs the organization, contents, and conventions of one or more databases.

2. The Soil Science Society of America publishes special GRACEnet section in March-April, 2010 issue. It is important to publish and reach the scientific community with ARS research on greenhouse gases and carbon sequestration. GRACEnet scientists published selected manuscripts representing several regions of the US and various agricultural systems that specifically addressing the topic of ‘Soil Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Mitigation’ is information resulting from GRACEnet scientist participation in symposiums presented at the 2008 Soil Science Society of America National meetings.

3. 2009 Report to the US Global Change Office results in feature article. A request from the US Global Climate Change Office at USDA reflects the strong interest in the role of Agriculture for sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide as soil organic carbon. Upon completion of the report, and at invitation from the Journal Editor, an article entitled, “Carbon Sequestration in Agricultural Lands of the United States” was prepared by GRACEnet scientists led by ARS scientists from Fort Collins, CO and published in the Soil and Water Conservation Journal as feature article.

4. ARS Scientists meet with Foundation for Agricultural Research (FAR) Sponsors. A meeting of ARS scientists and fertilizer industry members of FAR was held in Denver in June, 2010 to address the use of enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEF) for the reduction and management of nitrous oxide emissions. Through FAR, fertilizer industry groups contribute research funding to ARS to conduct research on the potential of EEF to decrease nitrous oxide emissions. Research conducted at 7 ARS GRACEnet sites were reported on and research gaps identified. The research projects are important for identifying gaps for future continuance.


Review Publications
Liebig, M.A., Tanaka, D.L., Gross, J.R. 2010. Fallow Effects on Soil Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Flux in Central North Dakota. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 74(2): 358-365.

Gollany, H.T., Novak, J.M., Liang, Y., Albrecht, S.L., Rickman, R.W., Follett, R.F., Wilhelm, W.W., Hunt, P.G. 2010. Simulating Soil Organic Carbon Dynamics with Residue Removal Using the CQESTR Model. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 74:372-383

Johnson, J.M., Archer, D.W., Barbour, N.W. 2010. Greenhouse Gas Emission from Contrasting Management Scenarios in the Northern Corn Belt. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 74(2):396-406.

Sistani, K.R., Warren, J., Lovanh, N.C., Higgins, S., Shearer, S. 2010. Greenhouse gas emissions from swine effluent applied to soil by different methods. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 74:429-435.

Venterea, R.T., Dolan, M.S., Ochsner, T.E. 2010. Urea Decreases Nitrous Oxide Emissions Compared with Anhydrous Ammonia in a Minnesota Corn Cropping System. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 74(2):407-418.

Hyatt, C.R., Venterea, R.T., Rosen, C.J., Mcnearney, M., Wilson, M.L., Dolan, M.S. 2010. Polymer-Coated Urea Maintains Potato Yields and Reduces Nitrous Oxide Emissions in a Minnesota Loamy Sand. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 74(2):419-428.

Qian, Y., Follett, R.F., Kimble, J. 2010. Soil Organic Carbon Input from Urban Turfgrasses. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 74 (2): 366-371.

Franzluebbers, A.J. 2010. Achieving soil organic carbon sequestration with conservation agricultural systems in the southeastern USA. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 74(2):347-357.

Davis, S.C., Parton, W.J., Dohleman, F.G., Gottel, N.R., Smith, C.M., Del Grosso, S.J., Kent, A.D., Delucia, E.H. 2010. Comparative Biogeochemical Cycles of Bioenergy Crops Reveal Nitrogen-Fixation and Low GHG Emissions in a Miscanthus x giganteus Agro-ecosystem. Ecosystems 13: 144-156.

Del Grosso, S.J., Ogle, S.M., Parton, W.J., Breidt, F.J. 2010. Estimating Uncertainty in N2O Emissions from US Cropland Soils. Global Biogeochemical Cycles Vol. 24, GB1009, 12 pp, doi:10.1029/2009GB003544.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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