Carbon sequestration in soil to protect our atmosphere

Carbon is a trivalent and nonmetallic chemical element. Carbon comes in our atmosphere by different anthropogenic activities.

Carbon sequestration in soil to protect our atmosphere Carbon dioxide is gradually increasing in our environment that causes global warming that is a threat to the existence of life on earth. So here is a need to sequester the carbon that may occur in soil or in oceans. This is a mechanism in which carbon capture and storage of CO2 from the atmosphere or other types of carbon to minimize global warming. Capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide can be done by physical, biological and chemical processes. This can be done both in soil and water

Global carbon cycles are affected by biological processes for example changes in climate. Fossil fuels, limestone, and clathrate are produced during these processes. Sequestration can be intensified through the manipulation of these processes.

Carbon sequestration in oceans

Carbon sequestration also can be done in the oceans by which we can overcome the amount of carbon that is increasing in the environment and cause climatic changes including global warming. Carbon storage can be derived by the biological pumps that store it in the deep oceans. Carbon sequestration can be derived by sinking particles in deep oceans. Aquatic plants like plankton sequester carbon dioxide by absorbing it through photosynthesis.

Affect of Tillage on carbon capturing

In the United States, 40 Mt C year-1 can sequester the carbon with conversion tillage. Due to agricultural practices including cultivation and tillage loss of soil organic carbon takes place this loss maybe 50% after 30 – 50 years of cultivation. This loss of carbon from soil shows that the ability of soil to sequester the carbon increases that will reverse the effects of cultivation. Rate of soil organic carbon (SOC) storage in the soil will more when SOC is refilled by carbon sequestration. If we mitigate the tillage practices then soil distribution also reduces and it also reduces the release of soil carbon. Other additional benefits are mitigation of soil erosion, reduce consumption of fuels and soil compaction. Air and water quality can be improved by the land restoration that mitigates the emission of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gas reductions can be done by modifying grazing practices and seasonal utilization of rangeland. Carbon sequestration can be maximized when marginal croplands are converted into grass and trees.

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Impact of agricultural practices on Carbon sequestration

 Carbon sequestration depends on the type of soil, management practices and vegetation cover. Practices that enhance the yield, retain moisture in soil and reduce erosion also increase the sequestration of carbon in the soil. Field windbreaks, minimize summer fallow, rotation grazing and direct seedling are such practices by which we can increase the soil carbon and reduce the emission of carbon dioxide. Soil carbon also can be increased by the higher-yielding varieties and more yield potential.

Agricultural land has the capacity to reduce the carbon in the atmosphere and store it into the soil. Through photosynthesis carbon dioxide is absorbed by trees, plants and cropland retains it in their branches, roots, foliage and also store in soil. A large amount of carbon is stored in roots and vegetation of grassland and forest for a long time so therefore they are called carbon sink. On earth, the soil is the most efficient storage system of carbon.

In natural succession, agriculturally abandoned land can alienate carbon dioxide that is present in the atmosphere. This isolated carbon dioxide acts as an organic matter in soil. But this process is time-consuming and occurs in century or more. More carbon dioxide stored in the soil as organic matter that is 2.3 times more than the atmosphere and 3.5 times more than the land plants. But the organic matter in soil is decomposed due to long term cultivation and 67% carbon loss occurs in the field. The rate of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide depends on human activities.

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Impact of manure on carbon sequestration

Carbon sequestration in soil can be increased by the use of manure. Other ways that increase the input of carbon in soil are sewage sludge alteration, winter crop cultivation and addition of straw.  Carbon from dead plant material added into the soil and carbon loss from the plant during respiration have to influence the amount of carbon that is stored in soil organic matter. The process of carbon sequestration will be enhanced or encouraged when minimum agricultural practices will be done in the soil. Through this process, farmers can reduce the loss of carbon from soil. 12% carbon dioxide that releases from industrial activities, energy and transpiration of plants can be sequestered by croplands and forests in the United States.

Role of cropping system for carbon sequestration

By increasing crop intensity more carbon and crop residues added in the soil as compare to crop fallow system when we return crop residues back to the soil than soil organic carbon sequestration is also increased. Not only water-nutrient relation and soil structure are improved by SOC but it has the ability to store C in the soil to decrease atmospheric CO2. During cropping, we also apply fertilizers to the crops these fertilizers have little impact on soil organic carbon sequestration even crop residue production is increased by N fertilizers.

Effect of biochar amendment on carbon sequestration

It is observed that biochar addition in soil has improved its fertility and also increase crop yield. Recently biochar amendments get so much attention in this photosynthetically fixed carbon is added into the soil where it is act as to store carbon for a long time and it mitigates high concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Carbon Sequestration by Afforestation

With the help of reforestation and afforestation, we can increase the carbon sequestration in biomass of plants and trees. Land that is used for this purpose should not use for other managements. For this process carbon should never allow going back in the atmosphere by rotting and mass burning when plants/trees died for this purpose we have to use long-lived trees so carbon will sequester for a long time.

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Impact of urban forestry on carbon sequestration

In this sequestration of carbon occurs over the complete life of the tree by adding trees in cities. This is practiced on smaller scales like in cities. The effect of urban forestry depends upon which type of vegetation is used it can act as a sink and also act as the source of emission. It is difficult to measure sequestration done by plants but it has little effect on the total amount of CO2   that is uptaken. By decreasing the need for energy consumption, on carbon the plants have an indirect effect.

Effects of peat production on carbon sequestration

Due to the accumulation of decaying biomass, peatlands act as the source of carbon that is linked to different climates in different areas and different times of the year by developing new bogs or enhancing preexisting bogs, amount of sequestered carbon which is done by bogs should be increased 

CONCLUSION

High availability of carbon is increasing the overall temperature which gives rise to the changing season pattern due to this summer and winter both becomes harsh. Due to this food quality is also deteriorating directly or indirectly. As carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and if its amount increases from an optimum limit then it will cause global warming. With the help of carbon sequestration, we can decrease its amount by sequestering it in soil and oceans.

Use all possible methods for carbon sequestration in soil to protect our atmosphere like tillage, agricultural practices, manure, cropping system, bio char amendment, afforestation, urban forestry and peat production by which highest amount of atmospheric carbon should be sequestered in soil. There should be a collaboration between government, private agencies, and farmers to attempt these strategies

Author: maryam aslam

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