Dave Huggins, Claudio Stockle, David Brown and Russ Evans
Greater storage of soil carbon (C) often occurs when agricultural fields are converted from intensive tillage to no-tillage. Atmospheric carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, provides the source of C for increases in soil organic matter storage (soil organic matter is about 58% C). Consequently, capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and transforming it into soil organic matter through the use of no-till farming has been proposed as a strategy for reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Currently, markets are developing for C trading in the U.S. and increases in soil C storage may return economic value to farmers. The ability to market soil C storage will likely depend on several factors including: (1) measurement technologies to assess levels of soil carbon in the field; and (2) methods to evaluate and predict farming practice effects on changes in soil C storage over time. Current research at WSU and USDA-ARS addresses these factors.
Soil Carbon storage in the top 4 inches (10 cm) of soil
at the WSU Cook Agronomy Farm.