Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 2, 2009
Publication Date: March 3, 2009
Citation: Dell, C.J. 2009. Measuring Carbon Sequestration in Pasture Soils [abstract]. Northeast Pasture Consortium. p. 1. Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.
Technical Abstract: Conversion of croplands to pasture can greatly increase sequestration of carbon in soil organic matter, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and helping to reduce the impacts of climate change. The measurement of soil carbon, and its limitations, could impact future carbon credit programs. Current technology provides for very accurate measurement of soil carbon. However, obtaining soil samples that accurately represent the average soil carbon content of a pasture or field is critical to measure increases in soil carbon over time. Spatial variation in soil carbon is generally high in the hilly terrain of the Northeastern US, and soil sampling designs that capture the range of low to high carbon values must be devoloped. Current carbon credit programs for pastures, administered through the Chicago Climate Exchange, pay landowners set payment rates for establishing and maintaining pasture. These programs do not require measured verification of soil carbon increases, but also do not provide additional money for greater than average carbon sequestration. As future carbon trading programs are developed, the costs of soil sampling and analysis should be considered to determine if measured verification of carbon sequestration would be a beneficial component of the programs.