The Potential of Soil Carbon Sequestration Through Improved Management Practices in Norway

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Abstract

The study was conducted to assess the potential of Norwegian agricultural ecosystems to sequester carbon (C) based on the data from some long-term agronomic and land use experiments. The total emission of CO2 in Norway in 1998 was 41.4 million metric ton (MMT), of which agriculture contributed only 0.157 MMT, or <0.4% of the total emissions. With regards to methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) gases, however, agricultural activities contributed 32.5% and 51.3% of their respective emissions in Norway. The soil organic carbon (SOC) losses associated with accelerated soil erosion in Norway are estimated at 0.475 MMTC yr−1. Land use changes and soil/crop management practices with potential for SOC sequestration include conservation tillage methods, judicious use of fertilizers and manures, use of crop residues, diverse crop rotations, and erosion control measures. The potential for SOC sequestration is 0.146 MMTC yr−1 for adopting conservation tillage, 0.011–0.035 MMTC yr−1 for crop residue management, 0.026 MMTC yr−1 for judicious use of mineral fertilizer, 0.016–0.135 MMTC yr−1 for manure application, and 0.036 MMTC yr−1 for adopting crop rotations. The overall potential of these practices for SOC sequestration ranges from 0.591 to 1.022 MMTC yr−1 with an average value of 0.806 MMTC yr−1. Of the total potential, 59% is due to adoption of erosion control measures, 5.8% to restoration of peat lands, 21% to conversion to conservation tillage and residue management, and 14% to adoption of improved cropping systems. Enhancing SOC sequestration and improving soil quality, through adoption of judicious land use and improved system of soil and crop management, are prudent strategies for sustainable management of soil, water and environment resources.

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