Reducing carbon footprints with carbon storage

November 9, 2011

Control of carbon emissions is an important component in the bid to address global climate change. However destruction of wildland habitats to make way for agriculture continues to erode the amount of carbon stored in the biomass and soil. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Carbon Balance and Management shows that maintenance of wildlands in and among vineyards significantly increases carbon storage. Policies which include improving carbon storage by increasing vegetation and biodiversity, along with reduction in carbon emissions, will help to balance global atmospheric carbon.

Across the Mediterranean, vineyard expansion poses a threat to loss of natural habitat and . A study in Northern California looked at the biodiversity and at five ranches with a range of soil types and farming methods. Ranches varied in the amount and variety of wildland - from having only five species of mostly very young trees, to having 18 different species of tree, ranging from saplings to established, closed canopy forest. Most of the carbon was stored in the top metre of soil (not including roots) however the variation in carbon content was most noticeable for aboveground woody biomass where wildlands had 12 times the carbon content of vineyards. Overall, forest areas contained 45% more carbon than vineyard but variation between ranches was extreme depending on the amount, and type, of vegetation present.

Prof Louise Jackson from the University of California whose team performed the research, explained, "Maintenance of natural wildland in agriculture sites can improve water control, pest management, retention of nutrients, and prevent erosion. Our results show that integration of wildland and vineyards can also improve the amount of carbon stored in and in the soil compared to more strictly farmed land and that organically based methods appear to further minimize the winegrower's carbon footprint."

Explore further: Before selling carbon credits, read this

More information: Assessment of carbon in woody plants and soil across a vineyard-woodland landscape, John N Williams, Allan D Hollander, A Toby O'Geen, L Ann Thrupp, Robert Hanifin, Kerri Steenwerth, Glenn McGourty and Louise E Jackson. Carbon Balance and Management (in press)

Related Stories

Before selling carbon credits, read this

May 18, 2007

Storing carbon in agricultural soils presents an immediate option to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide and slow global warming. Farmers who adopt practices that store carbon in soil may be able to "sell" the stored carbon ...

Soil contributes to climate warming more than expected

February 9, 2010

The climatic warming will increase the carbon dioxide emissions from soil more than previously estimated. This is a mechanism that will significantly accelerate the climate change. Already now the carbon dioxide emissions ...

Farming commercial miscanthus

August 31, 2011

An article in the current issue of Global Change Biology Bioenergy examines the carbon sequestration potential of Miscanthus plantations on commercial farms.

Recommended for you

Scientists track Greenland's ice melt with seismic waves

May 6, 2016

Researchers from MIT, Princeton University, and elsewhere have developed a new technique to monitor the seasonal changes in Greenland's ice sheet, using seismic vibrations generated by crashing ocean waves. The results, which ...

Continental drift created biologically diverse coral reefs

May 6, 2016

Nowhere today is the biodiversity of corals and reef-inhabiting fish higher than in the tropical waters around Indonesia and its neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia. "To understand the reason for this diversity, you ...

Climate-exodus expected in the Middle East and North Africa

May 2, 2016

The number of climate refugees could increase dramatically in future. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia have calculated that the Middle East and North Africa could become ...

Methane production reduced in ruminants

May 3, 2016

Researchers at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have taken part in a study of the effect of one molecule, 3-nitrooxypropanol, in inhibiting methane production in ruminants. The work has been published in the Proceedings ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.