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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: BOOK REVIEW OF AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES AND POLICIES FOR CARBON SEQUESTRATION IN SOIL (KIMBLE, LAL, FOLLETTE (EDS.) LEWIS PUBS. 512 PP

Author
item Wienhold, Brian

Submitted to: Soil Science
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: February 20, 2003
Publication Date: March 1, 2003
Citation: WIENHOLD, B.J. BOOK REVIEW OF AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES AND POLICIES FOR CARBON SEQUESTRATION IN SOIL (KIMBLE, LAL, FOLLETT (EDS.) LEWIS PUBS. 512 PP. SOIL SCIENCE 168:146-147. 2003.

Interpretive Summary: Agricultural Practices and Policies for Carbon Sequestration contains papers presented at an international symposium held at Ohio State University in July of 1999. The goal of the symposium was to bring together scientists, policymakers, economists, representatives from industry, and farmers to discuss perspectives and policy issues needed to realize potential C sequestration in agricultural soils. This goal is put in perspective in the foreword by Dr. Debbie Reed, Legislative Director of the National Environmental Trust, who emphasizes the need for scientific input in policy development. The 48 chapters are organized into nine sections dealing with 1) historical perspective, 2) conservation tillage and residue management, 3) monitoring and assessment, 4) soil management, 5) soil structure, 6) economics of C sequestration, 7) policy issues and industrial and farmer viewpoints, 8) regional pools, and 9) summary. While the book covers a large number of topics related to C sequestration, the chapters are well written and relatively short making it easy to extract pertinent information pertaining to the subject of that chapter. The four chapters contained in the historical perspective section set the stage for the remainder of the book. Perceptions regarding agricultural soils that are impeding implementation of effective policy for C sequestration are provided. Trends in conservation tillage, limitations to adoption of conservation tillage, and policies influencing adoption of conservation tillage are reviewed. Settlement of North America and the effect these activities had on the soil resource are outlined. The historical perspective documents how unsustainable past management has been, discusses past policies aimed at protecting or restoring soil resources, and ends with observations on steps needed for ecological sustainability to be achieved and the necessity for changes in behavior for those steps to be accomplished. As suggested by the section titles, the chapters contained in the middle seven sections deal with the science, economics, and policy of C sequestration in agricultural soils. While the chapters do cover these topics, several of them seem to be placed in inappropriate sections. The chapters in the "Economics of C Sequestration" section do not deal with economics while a chapter titled "Economic Feasability of Soil C Sequestration in U.S. Agricultural Soils" is placed in the "Policy Issues and Industrial and Farmer Viewpoints" section and the chapter "Growing the Market: Recent Developments in Agricultural Sector Carbon Trading" is placed in the "Regional Pools" section. The unfortunate consequence is that readers using the section titles to look for information on a topic may miss these well written chapters. Chapters dealing with C sequestration in reclaimed surface mines and mine spoils and C stocks in organic soils, in eastern European soils, and central Asian soils provide unique information that strengthens the content of this book. The "Summary" section contains two chapters which would have fit better in other sections. "Assessment of Soil Organic Matter Layers Deposited at Open Pit Mines" deals with subject matter more appropriate for the "Soil Management" or "Soil Structure and Carbon Sequestration" sections. Likewise, "Organic Carbon Stores in Alaskan Soils" would have fit nicely in the "Regional Pools" section. The final chapter is authored by the editors of this book. They concisely list a number of management options that have a scientific basis for sequestering C in agricultural soils. They summarize aspects of soil organic carbon dynamics for which a strong knowledge base exists and provide research issues and knowledge gaps in the areas of agronomy, environmental science, soil science, and policy and economics. They conclude by summarizing the areas of agreement that exist among the diverse par

Technical Abstract: Agricultural Practices and Policies for Carbon Sequestration contains papers presented at an international symposium held at Ohio State University in July of 1999. The goal of the symposium was to bring together scientists, policymakers, economists, representatives from industry, and farmers to discuss perspectives and policy issues needed to realize potential C sequestration in agricultural soils. This goal is put in perspective in the foreword by Dr. Debbie Reed, Legislative Director of the National Environmental Trust, who emphasizes the need for scientific input in policy development. The 48 chapters are organized into nine sections dealing with 1) historical perspective, 2) conservation tillage and residue management, 3) monitoring and assessment, 4) soil management, 5) soil structure, 6) economics of C sequestration, 7) policy issues and industrial and farmer viewpoints, 8) regional pools, and 9) summary. While the book covers a large number of topics related to C sequestration, the chapters are well written and relatively short making it easy to extract pertinent information pertaining to the subject of that chapter. The four chapters contained in the historical perspective section set the stage for the remainder of the book. Perceptions regarding agricultural soils that are impeding implementation of effective policy for C sequestration are provided. Trends in conservation tillage, limitations to adoption of conservation tillage, and policies influencing adoption of conservation tillage are reviewed. Settlement of North America and the effect these activities had on the soil resource are outlined. The historical perspective documents how unsustainable past management has been, discusses past policies aimed at protecting or restoring soil resources, and ends with observations on steps needed for ecological sustainability to be achieved and the necessity for changes in behavior for those steps to be accomplished. As suggested by the section titles, the chapters contained in the middle seven sections deal with the science, economics, and policy of C sequestration in agricultural soils. While the chapters do cover these topics, several of them seem to be placed in inappropriate sections. The chapters in the "Economics of C Sequestration" section do not deal with economics while a chapter titled "Economic Feasability of Soil C Sequestration in U.S. Agricultural Soils" is placed in the "Policy Issues and Industrial and Farmer Viewpoints" section and the chapter "Growing the Market: Recent Developments in Agricultural Sector Carbon Trading" is placed in the "Regional Pools" section. The unfortunate consequence is that readers using the section titles to look for information on a topic may miss these well written chapters. Chapters dealing with C sequestration in reclaimed surface mines and mine spoils and C stocks in organic soils, in eastern European soils, and central Asian soils provide unique information that strengthens the content of this book. The "Summary" section contains two chapters which would have fit better in other sections. "Assessment of Soil Organic Matter Layers Deposited at Open Pit Mines" deals with subject matter more appropriate for the "Soil Management" or "Soil Structure and Carbon Sequestration" sections. Likewise, "Organic Carbon Stores in Alaskan Soils" would have fit nicely in the "Regional Pools" section. The final chapter is authored by the editors of this book. They concisely list a number of management options that have a scientific basis for sequestering C in agricultural soils. They summarize aspects of soil organic carbon dynamics for which a strong knowledge base exists and provide research issues and knowledge gaps in the areas of agronomy, environmental science, soil science, and policy and economics. They conclude by summarizing the areas of agreement that exist among the diverse parties that participated in this symposium, restating the important role that soil scientists can play in environmental issues, and emphasizing the positive outcomes that are possible by using C sequestration in agricultural soils to mitigate C emissions to the atmosphere. The authors have edited a number of books dealing with C sequestration and that experience is evident in the concise summary. Agricultural Practices and Policies for Carbon Sequestration in Soil will be a valuable reference for those interested in the science, economics, and policy associated with C sequestration.

Last Modified: 7/11/2014
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