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CABI Book Chapter

Soil carbon: science, management and policy for multiple benefits.

Book cover for Soil carbon: science, management and policy for multiple benefits.


This book contains 31 chapters, grouped into 7 parts, which provides a link between the complexity of the scientific knowledge on soil carbon, and how this knowledge can be applied for multiple benefits, and the complexity of the policy and practice arenas where soil and land management impact many sectors: environment, farming, energy, water, economic development and urban planning. Part 1 provid...


Chapter 2 (Page no: 10)

Soil carbon: a critical natural resource - wide-scale goals, urgent actions.

Across the world, soil organic carbon (SOC) is decreasing due to changes in land use such as the conversion of natural systems to food or bioenergy production systems. The losses of SOC have impacted crop productivity and other ecosystem services adversely. One of the grand challenges for society is to manage soil carbon stocks to optimize the mix of five essential services - provisioning of food, water and energy; maintaining biodiversity; and regulating climate. Scientific research has helped develop an understanding of the general SOC dynamics and characteristics; the influence of soil management on SOC; and management practices that can restore SOC and reduce or stop carbon losses from terrestrial ecosystems. As the uptake of these practices has been very limited, it is necessary to identify and overcome barriers to the adoption of practices that enhance SOC. Actions should focus on multiple ecosystem services to optimize efforts and the benefits of SOC. Given that depleting SOC degrades most soil services, we suggest that in the coming decades increases in SOC will concurrently benefit all five of the essential services. The aim of this chapter is to identify and evaluate wide-scale goals for maximizing the benefits of SOC on the five essential services, and to define the short-term steps towards achieving these goals. Stopping the losses of SOC in terrestrial ecosystems is identified as the overall priority. In moving towards the realization of multiple SOC benefits, we need to understand better the relationships between SOC and individual services. Interactions between services occur at multiple spatial scales, from farm through landscape to subnational, national and global scales. Coordinated national and international responses to SOC losses and degradation of the five essential services are needed to empower SOC actions at local levels that have benefits on the larger scales. We propose the creation of a global research programme to expand the scientific understanding of SOC and its contribution to the five essential services. This should address the challenges and uncertainties associated with the management of SOC for multiple benefits. This research programme must include a strong education and outreach component to address concerns to different communities outside academia.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) The global challenge for soil carbon. Author(s): Banwart, S. A. Black, H. Cai ZuCong Gicheru, P. T. Joosten, H. Victoria, R. L. Milne, E. Noellemeyer, E. Pascual, U.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 26) Soil carbon transition curves: reversal of land degradation through management of soil organic matter for multiple benefits. Author(s): Noordwijk, M. van Goverse, T. Ballabio, C. Banwart, S. A. Bhattacharyya, T. Goldhaber, M. Nikolaidis, N. Noellemeyer, E. Zhao YongCun
Chapter: 4 (Page no: 47) From potential to implementation: an innovation framework to realize the benefits of soil carbon. Author(s): Funk, R. Pascual, U. Joosten, H. Duffy, C. Pan GenXing Scala, N. la Gottschalk, P. Banwart, S. A. Batjes, N. Cai ZuCong Six, J. Noellemeyer, E.
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 60) A strategy for taking soil carbon into the policy arena. Author(s): Wesemael, B. van Stocking, M. Bampa, F. Bernoux, M. Feller, C. Gicheru, P. T. Lemanceau, P. Milne, E. Montanarella, L.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 82) Soil formation. Author(s): Goldhaber, M. Banwart, S. A.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 98) Soil carbon dynamics and nutrient cycling. Author(s): Powlson, D. Cai ZuCong Lemanceau, P.
Chapter: 8 (Page no: 108) Soil hydrology and reactive transport of carbon and nitrogen in a multi-scale landscape. Author(s): Duffy, C. Nikolaidis, N.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 119) Climate change mitigation. Author(s): Bernoux, M. Paustian, K.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 132) Soil carbon and agricultural productivity: perspectives from sub-Saharan Africa. Author(s): Bationo, A. Waswa, B. S. Kihara, J.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 141) Soil as a support of biodiversity and functions. Author(s): Maron, P. A. Lemanceau, P.
Chapter: 12 (Page no: 154) Water supply and quality. Author(s): Werner, D. Grathwohl, P.
Chapter: 13 (Page no: 161) Wind erosion of agricultural soils and the carbon cycle. Author(s): Buschiazzo, D. E. Funk, R.
Chapter: 14 (Page no: 169) Historical and sociocultural aspects of soil organic matter and soil organic carbon benefits. Author(s): Feller, C. Compagnone, C. Goulet, F. Sigwalt, A.
Chapter: 15 (Page no: 179) The economic value of soil carbon. Author(s): Pascual, U. Termansen, M. Abson, D. J.
Chapter: 16 (Page no: 188) Measuring and monitoring soil carbon. Author(s): Batjes, N. H. Wesemael, B. van
Chapter: 17 (Page no: 202) Modelling soil carbon. Author(s): Milne, E. Smith, J.
Chapter: 18 (Page no: 214) Valuation approaches for soil carbon. Author(s): Abson, D. J. Pascual, U. Termansen, M.
Chapter: 19 (Page no: 224) Current soil carbon loss and land degradation globally: where are the hotspots and why there? Author(s): Joosten, H.
Chapter: 20 (Page no: 235) Climate change and soil carbon impacts. Author(s): Smith, P. Gottschalk, P. Smith, J.
Chapter: 21 (Page no: 243) Impacts of land-use change on carbon stocks and dynamics in central-southern South American biomes: Cerrado, Atlantic Forest and Southern Grasslands. Author(s): Coutinho, H. L. C. Noellemeyer, E. Balieiro, F. de C. Piñeiro, G. Fidalgo, E. C. C. Martius, C. Silva, C. F. da
Chapter: 22 (Page no: 265) Basic principles of soil carbon management for multiple ecosystem benefits. Author(s): Noellemeyer, E. Six, J.
Chapter: 23 (Page no: 277) Managing soil carbon for multiple ecosystem benefits - positive exemplars: Latin America (Brazil and Argentina). Author(s): Cerri, C. E. P. Scala Júnior, N. la Victoria, R. L. Quiroga, A. Noellemeyer, E.
Chapter: 24 (Page no: 287) Managing soil carbon for multiple benefits - positive exemplars: North America. Author(s): Conant, R.
Chapter: 25 (Page no: 297) Managing soil carbon in Europe: paludicultures as a new perspective for peatlands. Author(s): Joosten, H. Gaudig, G. Krawczynski, R. Tanneberger, F. Wichmann, S. Wichtmann, W.
Chapter: 26 (Page no: 307) Managing soil organic carbon for multiple benefits: the case of Africa. Author(s): Kamoni, P. T. Gicheru, P. T.
Chapter: 27 (Page no: 314) Benefits of SOM in agroecosystems: the case of China. Author(s): Pan GenXing Li LianQing Zheng JuFeng Cheng Kun Zhang XuHui Zheng JinWei Li ZiChuan
Chapter: 28 (Page no: 328) Assessment of organic carbon status in Indian soils. Author(s): Tapas Bhattacharyya
Chapter: 29 (Page no: 343) Policy frameworks. Author(s): Montanarella, L. Bampa, F. Brogniez, D. de
Chapter: 30 (Page no: 353) National implementation case study: China. Author(s): Zhao, Y.
Chapter: 31 (Page no: 360) Avoided land degradation and enhanced soil carbon storage: is there a role for carbon markets? Author(s): Noordwijk, M. van

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