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Ebooks on agriculture and the applied life sciences from CAB International

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 19 (Page no: 224)

Current soil carbon loss and land degradation globally: where are the hotspots and why there?

Global soils store in their first metre three times more carbon than all forest biomass of the world combined, and double the CO2 content of the atmosphere. The natural soil carbon density is controlled by climate, soil properties and vegetation. Land-use intensity, drainage conditions and soil type (organic versus mineral soils) play an important role in controlling soil carbon losses or gains. Because of its superficial setting, small bulk density and organic constitution, soil organic carbon (SOC) is highly susceptible to water and wind erosion and chemical and physical degradation. The major drivers of SOC loss include demand for fuel, overgrazing, arable agriculture and other overexploitation of vegetation. The resulting depletion of the global SOC pool is estimated at 40-100 Pg. Three global hotspots can be distinguished where environmental and socio-economic conditions currently lead to large soil carbon losses: * Peatlands, especially those in the tropics. Drained peatlands on 0.3% of the global land area lose around 0.5 Pg C year-1. * Drylands (arid, semi-arid and dry subhumid areas). Degraded drylands on 4-8% of the global land area (and home to >2 billion people) lose around 0.3 Pg C year-1. * Tropical forests, which experience large-scale clearing, with the vast majority of new cropland coming from intact and disturbed rainforests. The future of SOC will ultimately depend on whether land management will continue to mine soil carbon for short-term gains, but with long-term detriment, or whether it will manage to conserve and enhance soil carbon. Soil carbon management will thus decide whether a legacy of land resources will remain to sustain future generations.

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: 2 (Page no: 10) Soil carbon: a critical natural resource - wide-scale goals, urgent actions. Author(s): Nziguheba, G. Vargas, R. Bationo, A. Black, H. Buschiazzo, D. Brogniez, D. de Joosten, H. Melillo, J. Richter, D. Termansen, M.
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: 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

Chapter details

  • Author Affiliation
  • Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany.
  • Year of Publication
  • 2015
  • ISBN
  • 9781780645322
  • Record Number
  • 20143414624