Conservation Agriculture and Climate Change

  • M. Pisante
  • F. Stagnari
  • M. Acutis
  • M. Bindi
  • L. Brilli
  • V. Di Stefano
  • M. Carozzi
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter review aims at developing a clear understanding of the impacts and benefits of conservation agriculture (CA) with respect to climate change, and examining if there are any misleading findings at present in the scientific literature. Most of the world’s agricultural soils have been depleted of organic matter and soil health over the years under tillage-based agriculture (TA), compared with their state under natural vegetation. This degradation process can be reversed and this chapter identifies the conditions that can lead to increase in soil organic matter content and improvement in soil health under CA practices which involve minimum soil disturbance, maintenance of soil cover, and crop diversity. The chapter also discusses the need to refer to specific carbon pools when addressing carbon sequestration, as each carbon category has a different turnover rate. With respect to greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable agricultural systems based on CA principles are described which result in lower emissions from farm operations as well as from machinery manufacturing processes, and that also help to reduce fertilizer use. This chapter describes that terrestrial carbon sequestration efficiently be achieved by changing the management of agricultural lands from high soil disturbance, as TA practices to low disturbance, as CA practices, and by adopting effective nitrogen management practices to provide a positive nitrogen balance for carbon sequestration. However, full advantages of CA in terms of carbon sequestration can usually be observed only in the medium to longer term when CA practices and associated carbon sequestration processes in the soil are well established.

Keywords

Farm machinery Greenhouse gas emissions Soil health Tillage-based agriculture 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Pisante
    • 1
  • F. Stagnari
    • 1
  • M. Acutis
    • 2
  • M. Bindi
    • 3
  • L. Brilli
    • 3
  • V. Di Stefano
    • 3
  • M. Carozzi
    • 4
  1. 1.Agronomy and Crop Sciences Research and Education Center—Via C.R.LericiUniversity of TeramoMosciano S.AngeloItaly
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences—Production, Landscape, Agroenergy—Via G. CeloriaUniversity of MilanoMilanoItaly
  3. 3.Department of Agri-food Production and Environmental SciencesUniversity of Florence -Piazzale delle CascineFirenzeItaly
  4. 4.INRA, AgroParisTech, UMR 1091 Environnement et Grandes CulturesThiverval-GrignonFrance

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