Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Increasing Carbon Content in Soils

Author
item Potter, Kenneth

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 25, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Soil carbon content is an important contributor to soil quality, aiding in water infiltration, gas exchange, and nutrient cycling. Recently, soil carbon has come under increased attention as a possible method to store carbon and reduce future increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. This chapter reviews work to quantify management effects on carbon storage in soils in Texas. No-till management resulted in increased carbon storage in soils compared to soils with annual tillage at three sites widely scattered across Texas. Returning previously tilled soils to grass resulted in larger amounts of carbon storage than no-till practices and storage continued over a 60-year period. Soils can be managed to store carbon in Texas.

Technical Abstract: Increasing attention is being given to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere and to the resulting potential for global warming. Carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere, partly from the combustion of fossil fuels and from changes in land use from forest and range ecosystems to agriculture (Mann, 1986). Soils are now being considered as a possible sink to store carbon to possibly mitigate the effects of increasing atmospheric CO2 on the environment (Kern and Johnson, 1993). Soils comprise a vast reservoir of organic carbon (Batjes, 1996) that is potentially amenable to management by the selection of appropriate practices. This chapter will review recent studies to determine the impact of management practices on soil organic carbon content.

Last Modified: 7/24/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page