Submitted to: Soil and Tillage Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/6/2005
Publication Date: 8/1/2005
Citation: Follett, R.F., Shafer, S.R., Jawson, M.D., Franzluebbers, A.J. 2005. Research and implementation needs to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture in the USA. International Journal of Soil and Tillage Research. p. 83:159-166. Interpretive Summary: Development of improved conservation technologies to reduce GHG emissions could become part of more comprehensive conservation programs aimed at environmental protection, food security, and agricultural sustainability. An overarching research need is to determine the multiple benefits and trade-offs of improved conservation technologies so that land managers can systematically meet production and environmental goals and so that the most effective policies can be devised. Site-specific adaptation of appropriate conservation technologies will be needed for sequestering SOC and reducing nitrous oxide (N2O) emission. Adoption of improved conservation technologies to mitigate GHG emission should consider (i) the rate of C sequestration or GHG mitigation, (ii) the price offered for adopting various practices, (iii) the ease with which producers and land managers can alter land use and management activities, (iv) the potential impacts of targeting regions or practices, (v) the ancillary benefits to soil, water and air quality upon adoption of practices to sequester SOC or mitigate GHG emission, and (vi) the effectiveness and efficiency of various policies.
Technical Abstract: The need exists to understand which agricultural land uses and land resource types have the greatest potential to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contributing to global change. Global change is a natural resource issue increasingly contributed to by human activities that now joins other important issues facing agricultural scientists, such as depletion of soil organic carbon (SOC), soil degradation and contamination, and pollution of natural waters by soil sediments and nutrients. Increasing demand for food by the growing global population is resulting in increased GHG emissions, soil disturbance, fossil fuel consumption to produce agricultural products, and biomass burning. To address these issues and the threat of accelerated GHG emissions, this paper addresses: (1) current scientific facts about the attributes of soil and natural resources, (2) strategies for sustainable use of our finite, non-renewable, and fragile land resources, and (3) advances made by agricultural sciences and their potential role in forming policy.