Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Beneficial Effects Of No-till Farming Depend Upon Future Climate Change

Date:
October 14, 2005
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
By storing carbon in their fields through no-till farming practice, farmers can help countries meet targeted reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide and reduce the harmful effects of global warming. However, researchers say, the amount of carbon stored in soils depends on how the climate changes and how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- By storing carbon in their fields through no-tillfarming practice, farmers can help countries meet targeted reductionsin atmospheric carbon dioxide and reduce the harmful effects of globalwarming.

Growing plants take carbon dioxide from the air and store it ascarbon in their tissues. Most of this carbon is returned to theatmosphere as carbon dioxide when crops are harvested and consumed.Some carbon, however, can be permanently stored, or sequestered, in thesoil as organic matter. Changes in land management can potentiallyincrease the accumulation of organic carbon in soil.

The amount of carbon stored in soils also depends on how theclimate changes and how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere, sayresearchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and OakRidge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

"Our research focuses on the feasibility of differentsequestration schemes for reducing natural emissions of carbon dioxideor enhancing the natural uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide," saidAtul Jain, a U. of I. professor of atmospheric sciences and lead authorof a paper published in the Oct. 12 issue of Geophysical ResearchLetters. "Converting from conventional plow tillage to no-till practiceis among the most cost-effective ways to reduce the buildup of carbondioxide in the atmosphere."

To study the effect of changes in climate and atmosphericcarbon dioxide on soil carbon sequestration, the researchers used a newEarth-system model called the Integrated Science Assessment Model.Developed by Jain and his graduate students, the model includes thecomplex physical and chemical interactions among carbon-dioxideemissions, climate change, carbon-dioxide uptake by plants and oceans,and changes in farming practices.

About 18 percent of cropland in the United States and about 30percent of cropland in Canada is under no-till, Jain said. By nottilling their fields, farmers can save labor and fuel costs, reducesoil erosion and preserve precious nutrients. No-till also increasesthe accumulation of soil organic carbon, thereby resulting insequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Changes in no-till land management were simulated with andwithout changes in climate and carbon dioxide levels over the period1981 to 2000. All model simulations were based upon the actual adoptionof no-till practices on U.S. and Canadian farms.

"Comparing the model results with and without changes in carbondioxide and climate allows us to estimate the impact of recent changesin climate and carbon dioxide on soil carbon sequestration," Jain said."Over the period 1981 to 2000, 868 million tons of carbon were storedin solids under no-till farming. Five percent of this carbon storagecomes about because climate change and increasing atmospheric carbondioxide accelerate carbon storage in soil. Future increases in no-tillcould sequester enough carbon to satisfy nearly one-fifth of the totalU.S. reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions called for by the KyotoProtocol."

The effects of climate change on carbon storage will vary fromplace to place because of differences in how soil moisture and soiltemperature change as the climate warms, Jain said. In general, incentral and western Canada, the eastern United States, and portions ofFlorida and Texas, carbon sequestration may increase. In other areas,such as Illinois, climate change will reduce the amount of sequesteredcarbon.

"Climate change will reduce the gains in the carbon storagefrom no-till in some areas, but there is still a net gain in storedcarbon," Jain said. "In the future, farmers could receive credit forthe carbon sequestered in their fields under a carbon-tradingarrangement such as has been proposed for the Kyoto Protocol."

Co-authors of the paper were Oak Ridge scientists Tristram West and Wilfred Post, and Illinois graduate student Xiaojuan Yang.

###

The U.S. Department of Energy funded the work.

Editor's note: To reach Atul Jain call 217-333-2128; e-mail: jain1@uiuc.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Beneficial Effects Of No-till Farming Depend Upon Future Climate Change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051014073302.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2005, October 14). Beneficial Effects Of No-till Farming Depend Upon Future Climate Change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051014073302.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Beneficial Effects Of No-till Farming Depend Upon Future Climate Change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051014073302.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins