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ARS Home » Plains Area » Mandan, North Dakota » Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #347620

Research Project: Sustainable Agricultural Systems for the Northern Great Plains

Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory

Title: How conservation agriculture can mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and enhance soil carbon storage in croplands

Author
item Drury, Craig - Agriculture And Agri-Food Canada
item Liebig, Mark
item Angers, D - Agriculture And Agri-Food Canada
item Cavigelli, Michel
item Dechow, R - Thunen Institute Of Climate-Smart Agriculture
item Farina, Roberta - Council For Research And Experimentation In Agriculture – Research Centre For Industrial Crops
item Francaviglia, Rosa - Council For Research And Experimentation In Agriculture – Research Centre For Industrial Crops
item Gollany, Hero
item Janzen, H - Agriculture And Agri-Food Canada
item Katterer, Thomas - Swedish University Of Agricultural Sciences
item Munkholm, L - Aarhus University
item Pineiro, G - Universidad De Buenos Aires
item Rice, C - Kansas State University
item Roggero, P - Dipartimento Di Agraria, Universita Degli Studi Di Sassari
item Sainju, Upendra

Submitted to: Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/9/2017
Publication Date: 11/13/2017
Citation: Drury, C., Liebig, M.A., Angers, D., Cavigelli, M.A., Dechow, R., Farina, R., Francaviglia, R., Gollany, H.T., Janzen, H., Katterer, T., Munkholm, L.J., Pineiro, G., Rice, C., Roggero, P.P., Sainju, U.M. 2017. How conservation agriculture can mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and enhance soil carbon storage in croplands. Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases. Available: https://globalresearchalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Conservation-Agriculture-Network-Brochure.pdf.

Interpretive Summary: Efforts to create more productive, resilient, and environmentally sound agroecosystems has increased interest in conservation agriculture. Conservation agriculture practices include reduced tillage systems, permanent soil cover, and effective use of crop rotations including intercrops, cover crops, and fallow reduction. The intent of conservation agriculture practices is to optimize crop production while promoting soil health and providing ecosystem services (i.e. improved soil, water, and air quality). Conservation agriculture can mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture by enhancing soil carbon sequestration, improving soil quality, N-use efficiency and water use efficiencies, and reducing fuel consumption. Realizing GHG mitigation benefits, however, requires tailoring conservation agriculture principles within unique constraints (and opportunities) of working farms in varying climatic conditions. Additional research is needed to develop nuanced management approaches for mitigating GHG emissions from conservation agriculture systems.

Technical Abstract: Conservation agriculture can mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture by enhancing soil carbon sequestration, improving soil quality, N-use efficiency and water use efficiencies, and reducing fuel consumption. Management practices that increase carbon inputs and while reducing carbon losses can serve to enhance soil carbon sequestration. Enhancement of soil carbon sequestration can be achieved by maintaining plant residues on the soil surface, minimizing soil disturbance and erosion, adopting complex cropping systems that provide increased root biomass and/or continuous ground cover, and applying carbon-rich substrates to soil. Alterations of drainage regimes and residue incorporation in rice production systems can reduce CH4 emissions. Reducing the frequency of high N demanding crops and including non-leguminous cover crops in rotation can reduce reactive N and thereby N2O emissions. Realizing GHG mitigation benefits requires tailoring conservation agriculture principles within unique constraints (and opportunities) of working farms in varying climatic conditions. Additional research is needed to develop nuanced management approaches for mitigating GHG emissions from conservation agriculture systems.