by Staff Writers
Vancouver WA (SPX) Nov 10, 2017
A Washington State University researcher has discovered that vast amounts of carbon can be stored by soil minerals more than a foot below the surface. The finding could help offset the rising greenhouse-gas emissions helping warm the Earth's climate.
Marc Kramer, an assistant professor of environmental chemistry at WSU Vancouver, reports his finding in one of two related papers demonstrating how the right management practices can help trap much of the carbon dioxide that is rapidly warming the planet.
Soil holds more than three times the carbon found in the atmosphere, yet its potential in reducing atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels and mitigating global warming is barely understood.
Kramer, who is a reviewer for one of three reports issued with the federal National Climate Assessment released last week, compared what we know about soil to how little we know about the deep ocean.
"Hardly anyone has been down there and they just found a new species of octopus" he said. "We know more about the surface of Mars than we do about either oceans or soils on Earth"
Half of global soil carbon
Kramer elaborates on the connection this week in the journal Biogeochemistry Letters. His study, which he led with colleagues from Oregon State University and the Stroud Water Research Center in Pennsylvania, is the first to explicitly examine the extent minerals control nitrogen and carbon deep in the soil.
Keeping carbon in the ground
Earlier research by Kramer found that certain farming practices can dramatically increase carbon in the soil. Writing in Nature Communications in 2015, Kramer documented how three farms converted to management-intensive grazing practices raised their carbon levels to those of native forest soils in just six years. While cultivation has decreased soil carbon levels by one-half to two-thirds, the soils he examined had a 75 percent increase in carbon.
"I would call it radical, anytime you can get that much carbon in the system that quickly," Kramer said.
Knowing more about how soil stores carbon can open the door to new techniques that will entrain carbon deep into the soil while continuing to produce food and fiber.
"Don't forget, we need to double food production in the next 40 years," Kramer said.
Madison WI (SPX) Nov 10, 2017
Stuck where they are, plants have to adapt to their environments, responding to stresses like drought or pests by changing how they grow. On a broader scale, crop breeders need to be able to develop new varieties that are adapted to a new location or changing growing conditions in the same area. Both types of adaptation rely on a pool of possibilities, the combinations from which one ... read more
Washington State University
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|