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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Range Management Research

Title: Integrating terrestrail sequestration into a greenhouse gas management plan)

item Brown, Joel
item Sampson, N

Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2008
Publication Date: 12/1/2009
Citation: Brown, J.R., Sampson, N. 2009. Integrating terrestrail sequestration into a greenhouse gas management plan. In: McPherson, B.J., Sundquist, E.T., editors. Carbon Sequestration and Its Role in the Global Carbon Cycle. Washington, DC: American Geophysical Union. p. 317-324.

Interpretive Summary: Including terrestrial sequestration in a national greenhouse gas management plan will require the development of a credible and cost-effective system for tracking terrestrial carbon dynamics. Such a system would have to be supported by 1) an enhanced understanding of the biology of carbon dynamics in response to land use and management (including climate change) 2) a network of representative monitoring sites upon which to determine the driving factors and indicators of change, 3) a remotely sensed imagery acquisition and analysis program and a statistically valid inventory system, and 4) a comprehensive modeling approach that includes all potential sources and sinks. Improving and refining the accuracy and reliability of estimates of carbon change in terrestrial ecosystems at multiple scales will require a substantial ongoing effort to continually update inputs in response to changes in land use, management and climatic variability.

Technical Abstract: Terrestrial sequestration is the deliberate process of storing carbon in the soil or vegetation via the net effect of naturally occurring processes (photosynthesis, leading to storage in plants; humification and aggregation, leading to conversion of plant carbon to soil carbon; and respiration, which returns some plant and soil carbon to the atmosphere as CO2). Removing carbon from the atmosphere via terrestrial sequestration has been proposed as a critical element in the portfolio of actions to stabilize greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and avoiding undesirable climate change. One benchmark for integrating terrestrial sequestration into a GHG management plan might be to increase sequestration beyond “business-as-usual” levels by an average of about 1-2 PgC/yr during the next 50 years. Assuming this benchmark is accomplished by a linear increase in sequestration rates, the integrated total over 50 years would be 25-50 PgC. Achieving this level of performance will require 1) improvements in existing understanding of sequestering processes, 2) more focused incentive programs to accelerate adoption and maintenance of sequestering practices and 3) an enhanced monitoring and verification effort to insure credibility.

Last Modified: 05/26/2017
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