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New protocol recommendations for measuring soil organic carbon sequestration
Date:2/1/2013

dy in storage and may in fact be released back to the atmosphere if applied to the plot. For example, decomposing manure loaded on a land unit increases the return of CO₂ to the atmosphere and does not result in a depletion of atmospheric CO₂, which is the real goal. Because we often lack the ability to directly measure the total change in the atmospheric CO₂ as a result of C loading on a plot or field, we indirectly estimate it by measuring the change in amount of SOC being stored in the land unit.

"These proposed protocols are necessary to move the science forward and to attempt to address future predicted climate trends," Olson said. "The amount of SOC sequestered as a result of alternative agricultural systems such as no-till and its effects on net SOC storage changes in the soil over time and the SOC released to the water and atmospheric pools need to be measured or calculated."

Olson said that any future Cap and Trade program will require SOC sequestration protocols to be established. The method of measurement is critical if SOC sequestration is to be verified. "If landowners are to truly sequester SOC, they must be able to prove that net carbon gains have occurred over time in their fields and that the increased SOC remains permanently stored in their soil," Olson said.


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Contact: Debra Levey Larson
dlarson@illinois.edu
217-244-2880
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

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