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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #266000

Title: Conservation practices and their potential to mitigate climate change

item Hatfield, Jerry
item Parkin, Timothy
item Sauer, Thomas - Tom
item Prueger, John

Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2011
Publication Date: 10/19/2011
Citation: Hatfield, J.L., Parkin, T.B., Sauer, T.J., Prueger, J.H. 2011. Conservation practices and their potential to mitigate climate change. American Society of Agronomy Annual Meetings [abstracts]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting. Oct. 16-19, 2011, San Antonio, TX. CD-ROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Climate change and its potential negative impacts on agricultural production is a complex problem. Implementation of conservation practices will have multiple benefits on stability of agricultural production and mitigation of climate change. Implementation of conservation practices which increase infiltration of water and decrease erosion will have both short-term and long-term impacts because water is one of the most limiting factors in crop production. Mitigation of climate change with agricultural practices will begin with enhanced productivity leading to more carbon dioxide capture by the crop and conservation practices will further increase the carbon storage in the soil. Climate mitigation will occur through a number of pathways affecting both carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide exchanges. Increased carbon dioxide and uptake through enhanced growth coupled with reduced tillage systems and residue management will lead to improved soil conditions not only for carbon dioxide but also reduced nitrous oxide emissions. Enhanced plant growth and residue management will also change the energy exchanges and albedo of the surface creating a larger regional effect on climate dynamics. The resilience of agricultural systems to climate change is dependent on the ability of the soil to capture and supply water to the plant at critical times in order to overcome the potential negative impacts of rising temperature. Conservation practices offer several methods of mitigating climate change; however, the initial step in the process is adopting practices which increase the storage and availability of water for increased plant growth and the improvement of the soil to store more water and increase the gas exchange between the soil and the atmosphere.