Environmental Management

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 467–473 | Cite as

Grassland Management Activity Data: Current Sources and Future Needs



Estimates of potential and actual C sequestration require areal information about various types of management activities. Forest surveys, land use data, and agricultural statistics contribute information enabling calculation of the impacts of current and historical land management on C sequestration in biomass (in forests) or in soil (in agricultural systems). Unfortunately little information exists on the distribution of various management activities that can impact soil C content in grassland systems. Limited information of this type restricts our ability to carry out bottom-up estimates of the current C balance of grasslands or to assess the potential for grasslands to act as C sinks with changes in management. Here we review currently available information about grassland management, how that information could be related to information about the impacts of management on soil C stocks, information that may be available in the future, and needs that remain to be filled before in-depth assessments may be carried out. We also evaluate constraints induced by variability in information sources within and between countries.It is readily apparent that activity data for grassland management is collected less frequently and on a coarser scale than data for forest or agricultural inventories and that grassland activity data cannot be directly translated into IPCC-type factors as is done for IPCC inventories of agricultural soils. However, those management data that are available can serve to delineate broad-scale differences in management activities within regions in which soil C is likely to change in response to changes in management. This, coupled with the distinct possibility of more intensive surveys planned in the future, may enable more accurate assessments of grassland C dynamics with higher resolution both spatially and in the number management activities.


Soil carbon sequestration Grasslands Management activity data 



This research was supported by grants from the Ruminant Livestock Efficiency Program at the Environmental Protection Agency, the New Investigator Program at the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, and by funding to the Consortium for Agricultural Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases (CASMGS) from USDA/CSREES under Agreement No. 2001-38700-11092. Thanks to Randy Boone for contributing information about the regional-level grassland management projects in Kenya/Tanzania. Comments from Jean Reeder, Tom Boutton, and Joel Brown on an earlier version of this manuscript improved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Natural Resource Ecology LaboratoryColorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1499USA
  2. 2.Department of Soil and Crop SciencesColorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1170USA

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