Assessing “4 per 1000” soil organic carbon storage rates under Mediterranean climate: a comprehensive data analysis

  • Rosa FrancavigliaEmail author
  • Claudia Di Bene
  • Roberta Farina
  • Luca Salvati
  • José Luis Vicente-Vicente
Original Article


Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) is considered a proxy of soil health, contributing to food production, mitigation, and adaptation to climate change and other ecosystem services. Implementing Recommended Management Practices (RMPs) may increase SOC stocks, contributing to achieve the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 21st Conference of the Parties agreements reached in Paris, France. In this framework, the “4 per 1000” initiative invites partners implementing practical actions to reach a SOC stock annual growth of 4‰. For the first time, we assessed the achievement of 4‰ objective in Mediterranean agricultural soils, aiming at (i) analyzing a representative data collection assessing edaphoclimatic variables and SOC stocks from field experiments under different managements in arable and woody crops, (ii) providing evidence on SOC storage potential, (iii) identifying the biophysical and management variables associated with SOC storage, and (iv) recommending a set of mitigation strategies for global change. Average storage rates amounted to 15 and 80 Mg C ha−1 year−1 × 1000 in arable and woody crops, respectively. Results show that application of organic amendments led to significantly higher SOC storage rates than conventional management, with average values about 1.5 times higher in woody than in arable crops (93 vs. 63 Mg C ha−1 year−1 × 1000). Results were influenced by the initial SOC content, experiment duration, soil texture, and climate regime. The relatively lower levels of SOC in Mediterranean soils, and the high surface covered by woody crops, may reflect the high potential of these regions to achieving significant increases in SOC storage at the global scale.


4 per 1000 initiative Carbon sequestration Carbon storage Climate change mitigation Cropping systems Mediterranean climate 


Supplementary material

11027_2018_9832_MOESM1_ESM.docx (230 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 229 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Council for Agricultural Research and EconomicsResearch Centre for Agriculture and Environment (CREA-AA)RomeItaly
  2. 2.Council for Agricultural Research and EconomicsResearch Centre for Forestry and Wood (CREA-FL)ArezzoItaly
  3. 3.Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC)BerlinGermany

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