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This report assesses the potential of U.S. cropland to sequester carbon, concluding that properly applied soil restorative processes and best management practices can help mitigate the greenhouse effect by decreasing the emissions of greenhouse gases from U.S. agricultural activities and by making U.S. cropland a major sink for carbon sequestration. Topics include:
Describe the greenhouse processes and global tends in emissions as well as the three principal components of anthropogenic global warming potential
Present data on U.S. emissions and agriculture's related role
Examines the soil organic carbon (SOC) pool in soils of the U.S. and its loss due to cultivation
Provides a reference for the magnitude of carbon sequestration potential
Analyzes the primary processes governing greenhouse gas emission from the pedosphere
Establishes a link between SOC content and soil quality
Outlines strategies for mitigating emissions from U.S. cropland
Discusses soil erosion management
Assesses the potential of using cropland to create biomass for direct fuel to produce power
Details the potential for sequestering carbon by intensifying prime agricultural land The Potential of U.S. Cropland to Sequester Carbon and Mitigate the Greenhouse Effect provides an exceptional framework for the adoption of science-based management methods on U.S. cropland, encouraging appropriate agricultural practices for the sustainable use of our natural resources and the improvement of our nation's environment.
Table of Contents
Objectives Basic Processes The Greenhouse Process Global Trends in Greenhouse Gas Emissions The Role of Agriculture in U.S. Emissions of Three GHGs The SOC Pool in U.S. Soils and SOC Loss from Cultivation Processes in Governing Emissions from the Pedosphere Plant Action Soil Processes Soil Quality Strategies for Mitigating Emissions from Cropland U.S. Cropland Sustainable Management Studies Soil Erosion Management Land Conversion and Restoration Conversion of Marginal Land Restoration of Degraded Soils Biofuels for Offsetting Fossil Fuel Intensification of Prime Agricultural Land Conservation Tillage and Residue Management Irrigation Water Management Improved Cropping Systems The Carbon Sequestration Potential of Arable Land U.S. Cropland's Overall Potential to Mitigate the Greenhouse Effect Techniques for Sequestration Rates of SOC Sequestration Possible Implementation Obstacles Required Action Conclusions - The Win-Win Strategy Agricultural Profits from Environmental Improvements SOC's Monetary Value SOC's Environmental Value Global Potential Appendix 1: Definitions Appendix 2: Researchable Topics
Mark Powell, Forestry and Natural Resource Management Unit, Winrock International, Morritlon, Arkansas
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