Submitted to: USDA Symposium on Greenhouse Gases & Carbon Sequestration in Agriculture and Forestry
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 21, 2005
Publication Date: March 21, 2005
Citation: Franzluebbers, A.J. 2005. Soil organic carbon sequestration in pastures of the Southeastern USA: Knowledge and gaps [abstract]. Third USDA Symposium on Greenhouse Gasses and Carbon Sequestration in Agriculture and Forestry. 21-24 March 2005, Baltimore, Maryland. Technical Abstract: Agricultural land in the southeastern USA encompasses approximately 111 million acres, of which 47 million acres are devoted to pasture. This extensive resource has the potential to sequester soil organic C (SOC), especially following historical conversion of land, first from native forest to intensively cultivated cropland and more recently from intensively cultivated cropland to pastureland. This paper reviews recent research reporting SOC changes with pasture management and identifies significant gaps in our knowledge of how pasture management might affect SOC and emission of greenhouse gases. Management factors affecting SOC include land use, forage type, fertilization, and forage utilization. Establishment of perennial grass pastures could sequester SOC at rates of 0.1 to 0.7 ton/acre/year, depending upon management variables. Although some information on SOC sequestration and greenhouse gas emission is available, there is a great need to conduct more research on the diversity of pasture systems relevant to agriculture in the southeastern USA.