Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #227336

Title: Soil Carbon Sequestration and the Greenhouse Effect (2nd Edition)

item Follett, Ronald

Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Special Publication Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/2/2008
Publication Date: 3/1/2009
Citation: Lal, R., Follett, R.F. 2009. Soil Carbon Sequestration and the Greenhouse Effect (2nd Edition). Soil Science Society of America Special Publication Book Chapter. 410p. Madison, WI.

Interpretive Summary: Land use conversion from natural to agricultural ecosystems and soil cultivation creates a soil C deficit with the attendant emission of CO2 into the atmosphere. The magnitude of deficit, ranging from 30 to 75%, depends on soil, climate, terrain, drainage, land use and soil/crop management practices. Adoption of a recuperative land use and recommended management practices can restore the depleted soil carbon pool. The process of restoration of the C pool, called soil carbon sequestration, has positive impacts upon environmental services including improvement in soil quality, increase in agronomic/biomass productivity, purification of water, increase in use efficiency of input (e.g., fertilizer, irrigation, energy), and increase in biodiversity. In addition, soil carbon sequestration, both through increase in organic and inorganic components, off-sets fossil fuel emissions and mitigates climate change due to atmospheric enrichment of CO2. Restoration of eroded/degraded soils, conversion of plow tillage to no-till farming with crop residue mulch and cover cropping, integrated nutrient management with manuring, and use of complex cropping/farming systems are some of the practices that enhance soil carbon sequestration. Improving pastures and controlled grazing lead to increase in soil carbon pool in grazing lands. Choices of appropriate species, stand management, along with judicious practices of site preparation enhance carbon pool in forest soils. Adoption of recommended management practices can be facilitated through creation of another income stream by trading C credits.

Technical Abstract: This volume is a second edition of the book “Soil Carbon Sequestration and The Greenhouse Effect”. The first edition was published in 2001 as SSSA Special Publ. #57. The present edition is an update of the concepts, processes, properties, practices and the supporting data. All chapters are new contributions, by both former and other invited authors. The second edition comprises of 23 chapters. In addition to the Introductory and Concluding chapters, newer themes addressed are: urban soils, minesoils, biochemically recalcitrant compounds, carbonaceous materials, belowground C storage by woody plants, and peat soils. The geographic focus of the book is North America. While a majority of contributions are from the U.S., there are important chapters from Canada and Mexico. Thematically, the second edition encompasses data from modeling, lab analyses, plot studies, landscape assessment, and regional evaluation of soil C pools and fluxes. The second edition is an important reference material for researchers interested in processes, properties and practices affecting the soil C pool and its dynamics. This Special Publication would not have been possible without the efforts of all of the chapter authors. We are grateful for their dedication in preparing each chapter and their sharing of their knowledge with the world community. Support received from Lisa Al-Amoodi of the SSSA Headquarters in Madision, WI, has been important to collating and synthesizing the information presented. We are especially grateful for the tireless efforts of Ms. Kate Elder, Program Coordinator, The Ohio State University Carbon Management and Sequestration Center for her willingness to work with each author to gather materials required to bring this project to completion. We acknowledge the important role of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH and contributions by authors whose work includes the support of the Agricultural Research Service and the ARS, GRACEnet Project. [GRACEnet publication].