Submitted to: Soil and Tillage Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/31/2004
Publication Date: 7/15/2005
Citation: Jawson, M.D., Shafer, S.R., Franzluebbers, A.J., Parkin, T.B., Follett, R.F. 2005. Gracenet: Greenhouse gas reduction through agricultural carbon enhancement network. International Journal of Soil and Tillage Research. 83:167-172.
Interpretive Summary: The atmosphere is becoming increasingly concentrated with three well-known gases that are emitted by various natural and man-made processes, including by agriculture, i.e. carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane. These gases have the potential to trap energy in the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect. How agriculture affects the emission of these gases is fairly well known, but how variation in agricultural management might alter the amount of these gases emitted to the atmosphere is not well known. Scientists with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville Maryland, Watkinsville Georgia, Ames Iowa, and Fort Collins Colorado describe a nationally coordinated research project aimed at determining the best regionally specific agricultural management practices that would (1) reduce the amount of carbon dioxide returned to the atmosphere by storing carbon as organic matter in soil, (2) reduce the net global warming potential of all greenhouse gases emitted by agriculture, and (3) create the least disturbance to the environment by improving soil quality, water quality, and air quality. This research will be conducted by many research locations during the coming years.
Technical Abstract: GRACEnet (Greenhouse gas Reduction through Agricultural Carbon Enhancement network) is a new research program initiated by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The primary objectives of GRACEnet are to identify and develop agricultural strategies that will enhance soil C sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to provide a scientific basis for possible C credit and trading programs that could be used to reduce net emissions of greenhouse gases and improve environmental quality. This program will generate information on C storage in agricultural systems, which is needed by producers, program managers, and policy makers. Scenarios evaluated in GRACEnet will not only address mitigation of CO2 emission through soil C sequestration, but also their effects on nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4). The information generated will be applicable at the local, regional and national scales. GRACEnet's geographical extent, use of common procedures, and cooperation with other North American C cycle research programs will result in robust information to promote scientifically based conservation technologies.