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-till farming practice, farmers can help countries meet targeted reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide and reduce the harmful effects of global warming.

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

The amount of carbon stored in soils also depends on how the climate changes and how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere, say researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

"Our research focuses on the feasibility of different sequestration schemes for reducing natural emissions of carbon dioxide or enhancing the natural uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide," said Atul Jain, a U. of I. professor of atmospheric sciences and lead author of a paper published in the Oct. 12 issue of Geophysical Research Letters. "Converting from conventional plow tillage to no-till practice is among the most cost-effective ways to reduce the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."

To study the effect of changes in climate and atmospheric carbon dioxide on soil carbon sequestration, the researchers used a new Earth-system model called the Integrated Science Assessment Model. Developed by Jain and his graduate students, the model includes the complex physical and chemical interactions among carbon-dioxide emissions, 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 30 percent of cropland in Canada is under no-till, Jain said. By not tilling their fields, farmers can save labor and fuel costs, reduce soil erosion and preserve precious nutrients. No-till also increases the accumulation of soil organic carbon, thereby resulting in sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Changes in no-till land management were simulated with and without changes in climate and carbon dioxide levels over the period 1981 to 2000. All model simulations were based upon the actual adoption of no-till practices on U.S. and Canadian farms.

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

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

"Climate change will reduce the gains in the carbon storage from no-till in some areas, but there is still a net gain in stored carbon," Jain said. "In the future, farmers could receive credit for the carbon sequestered in their fields under a carbon-trading arrangement 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 April 17, 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 April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 15, 2014) Pennsylvania-based Schramm is incorporating modern technology in its next generation oil-drigging rigs, making them smaller, safer and smarter. Ernest Scheyder reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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