Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 11, 2008
Publication Date: August 1, 2008
Citation: Hatfield, J.L. 2008. Special Issue From the 4th USDA Greenhouse Gas Symposium. Journal of Environmental Quality. 37:1311-1318. Technical Abstract: Greenhouse gases emitted from agricultural and forest systems continue to be a topic of interest because of their potential role in the global climate and the potential monetary return in the form of carbon credits from the adoption of mitigation strategies. There are several challenges in the science and policy of greenhouse gases. One of the critical pieces in the greenhouse gas puzzle is the development of inventory methods that characterize the sources of greenhouse gases and quantify the amounts emitted from each source and the registries that provide this information for potential users. Understanding the spatial and temporal aspects of the inventory coupled with studies on trace gas emissions from different systems encompassing forest, agricultural crops, livestock, and native ecosystems is a critical foundation for greenhouse gas studies. Within agricultural systems there is a growing interest on soil carbon and the effect of different soil management systems on changes in soil carbon. Agronomic crops are produced across a variety of landscapes and climates and changes in climate impact their production efficiency and potential greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration. Studies that reported the response of crops to climate change demonstrated the variation in response, the challenges that need to be addressed in evaluating these responses, and the interactions among natural resource components, e.g., water, soil, and temperature, that determine the degree of the response. Similar research efforts in forestry systems are needed to provide a baseline for how these systems respond to climate change. Increasing our understanding of the response of agricultural and forestry systems to climate change is providing valuable information to help address the information needs to help guide decision making.