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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT OF AGRICULTURAL AND NATURAL RESOURCE SYSTEMS TO REDUCE ATMOSPHERIC EMISSIONS AND INCREASE RESILIENCE TO CLIMATE CHANGE Title: Carbon sequestration in a tilled and untilled maize field in Lesotho, Southern Africa

item Bruns, Wendy -
item Eash, Neal -
item Sauer, Thomas
item Walker, Forbes -
item West, Tristram -
item Marake, Makoala -
item Lambert, Dayton -
item Wilcox, Michael -
item Bruns, Matthew -

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 15, 2011
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The capacity of soils to sequester carbon is currently of major interest for scientific exploration because of the pressures of climate change and the role that might be played by manipulation of carbon dioxide flux through land management practices in mitigating the effects of climate change. Agricultural soils under no-till management have been shown to have increases in soil carbon levels over soils under traditional practices in the long-term; this is hypothesized to be reflected by the short-term (i.e., seasonal) flux of carbon dioxide between the terrestrial system and the atmosphere. In order to investigate the potential of no-till agricultural systems to increase the sequestration of carbon dioxide, micrometeorological stations were set up during the growing season in two adjacent fields in the country of Lesotho in sub-Saharan Africa. These stations continuously record the environmental components necessary to complete the Bowen’s ratio energy balance equations for the fields, of which both are cropped in maize-soybean rotations, one under no-till management and the other plowed. Comparison of the transfer of energy throughout the two different cropping systems over the course of the cropping cycle may indicate the suspected superiority of no-till systems for maximizing the carbon dioxide uptake of agricultural systems.

Last Modified: 8/23/2016
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