AGP - detail

Soil Organic Carbon Accumulation and Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions from Conservation Agriculture

Soil organic matter plays a crucial role in maintaining soil health and its productivity potential. However, most of the world’s agricultural soils have become depleted in organic matter compared with their state under natural vegetation. This is because the dominant form of agriculture is based on tillage, which accelerates the decomposition of soil organic matter. Tillage-based production systems should therefore be transformed so that the future production intensification can be achieved sustainably. Conservation Agriculture, a system avoiding or minimizing soil disturbance, combined with soil cover and crop diversification, is considered to be such sustainable production system. However, there appears to be certain degree of uncertainty about the role of Conservation Agriculture in carbon sequestration and in reducing green house gas emissions. This publication presents a meta analysis of global scientific literature with the aim to develop a clear understanding of the impacts and benefits of traditional tillage agriculture and Conservation Agriculture with respect to their effects on soil carbon pools. The study attempts to reduce the existing uncertainty about the impact of soil management practices on soil carbon and is addressing scientists as well as policy makers to facilitate decision making regarding future farming models.