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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 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.

Land-use changes (LUC) are one of most significant global change processes of the current era, with noticeable consequences on habitat loss, due mainly to agricultural expansion and urbanization. The carbon cycle dynamics can be affected significantly by LUC, with impacts on carbon sequestration and emission rates. Considering the direct effect of carbon gases enrichment of the atmosphere on climate change, it is of utmost importance to improve the knowledge base on the impacts of agricultural-based LUC on carbon sinks, such as soils. This chapter reviews the available data on the effects of LUC on soil carbon stocks in three major biomes of the southern portion of the South American continent (the Cerrado, the Southern Grasslands and the Atlantic Forest). The area of soybean crops has expanded almost four times in the La Plata Basin Grasslands of Argentina over the past decade, and near ten times in the Brazilian Cerrado since the mid-1980s. The area under sugarcane crops in Brazil has almost doubled since the mid-1990s, occupying approximately 8.5 million ha (Mha) in 2009. In 2011, forestry plantations occupied 28% more land in Brazil than in 2005, with a total area of 6.5 Mha (75% with Eucalyptus and 25% with Pinus). In general, all conversions of natural vegetation to agricultural land-use systems in the different biomes have resulted in significant losses of soil carbon stocks. The conversion of pastures and grasslands to annual croplands in the Rolling Pampas grasslands has decreased C stocks by 50% over the last century. This represents a much faster loss rate than the loss triggered by the introduction of domestic herbivores over the course of the previous nearly four centuries (22%). These results imply that soil degradation caused by annual crops is very rapid and results in a strong decrease in carbon stocks. However, adopting soil and water conservation management strategies and increasing the complexity of the cropping systems - through adoption of no-tillage (NT) agriculture, well-managed pasture systems, integrated crop-livestock-forestry systems, multiple cropping and crop rotation with legume cover species, for example, can improve soil carbon sequestration rates by up to nearly 2.0 Mg C ha-1 year-1. The elimination of preharvest burning practices in sugarcane crops alone can result in gains of up to 0.93 t C year-1 ha-1. Improving soil and crop management to boost carbon sequestration in agricultural systems, while at the same time increasing resilience by improving soil quality, is a potential climate change mitigation option for farmers in South America.

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: 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: 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