A study recently published in the Journal Nature details how improved soil management could help combat the effects of global warming. According to the researchers, farm soils can store large amounts of carbon than previously thought and the ability can be harnessed to help reduce the volume of greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere.
Researchers and scientists from the universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh in the UK noted that the atmosphere presently holds about 830 petagrams or one trillion kilograms of carbon. But humans generate 10 petagrams of carbon every year through activities such as burning fossil fuel and production of wastes. But the farm soils can hold nearly six times more carbon than the atmosphere and that capacity of the soils to hold carbon can actually be increased.
If that is the case, the researchers believe that coordinated efforts could help bury more carbon in the soils and reduce the amounts of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Those efforts require the participation of land users, policymakers, and scientists.
What Does Burying Carbon Into The Soils Involve?
According to the researchers, the process of enhancing the ability of the Earth’s soils to absorb more carbon starts by using different techniques to balance the amounts of nitrogen in the soils.
The ways that could lock in more carbon into the ground and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas escaping into the atmosphere include introducing cover crops, enhancing supervision of grazing activities, decreasing practices such as tillage and applying biochar.
Researchers also say that mitigation efforts such as avoiding destruction of natural ecosystems and maintaining the marginal land as a buffer for grasslands and forests could also be used to enhance the ability of farm lands to store more carbon.
If the soil can be managed properly, not only will the amount of greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere, but also boost the soil fertility, enhance crop yield and reduce water pollution.
It is the advancement in technology and the availability of more data about the soil that has made it possible for the researchers to discover the incredible capability of the farm soils to absorb more carbon than previously known.