Submitted to: US Environment
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2003
Publication Date: 6/10/2003
Citation: REICOSKY, D.C. AGRICULTURE AND GLOBAL CHANGE: ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF SOIL CARBON SEQUESTRATION. US ENVIRONMENT. HTTP://WWW.USENVIRONMENT-2003.COM .
Technical Abstract: Agricultural Carbon (C) sequestration may be one of the most cost effective ways to slow processes of global warming. Conservation of fossil fuels is one answer, but agriculture and industry must work together to address the rapid increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Numerous environmental benefits result from agricultural activities that sequester soil C and contribute to environmental security. As part of no-regret strategies, practices that sequester soil C help reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and encourage more sustainable and less chemically dependent agriculture. While we learn more about soil C storage and its central role in direct environmental benefits, we must understand the secondary environmental benefits and what they mean to production agriculture and society. Increasing soil C can help offset industrial emissions and buy some time for society and simultaneously benefit the environment. Increasing soil C storage can increase infiltration, increase fertility and nutrient cycling, decrease wind and water erosion, minimize compaction, enhance water quality, decrease C emissions, impede pesticide movement and enhance environmental quality. The sum of each individual benefit adds to a total package of environmental benefits with major significance on a global scale. Incorporating C storage in conservation planning demonstrates concern for our global resources and presents a positive role for agricultural soil C partially offsetting industrial emissions that will have a major impact on our future quality of life.