CarboSeq identified eleven promising agricultural measures to increase soil organic carbon

Based on the massive data collection built in the first two years of the project, 11 agricultural measures have been identified and will be used for the modelling exercises across all European countries.

Sampling of different cover crops and their mixtures have proven to increase soil organic carbon and are considered as one of the measures analysed in CarboSeq. ┬ęSpieker Fotografie

In January, the largest EJP SOIL project, CarboSeq reached the middle of the project time and this year first results are expected on the quantification of effect of agricultural measures that can increase soil organic carbon (SOC) at European scale. Based on the massive data collection built in the first two years of the project, 11 agricultural measures have been identified that seem to be the most promising measures to increase SOC with some of them being also heavily discussed in the scientific community. Strict definitions of these measures have been finalised in March and will be used for the modelling exercises across all European countries. These measures are: cover crops, legume integration into crop rotations, crop residue management, irrigation, zero tillage, non-inversion tillage, new hedges, alley-cropping agroforestry, biochar application, land-use change cropland to grassland and land-use change grassland to silvopasture.

These 11 selected measures will be put to the test by modelling their effect on SOC with implementation on agricultural land across Europe. The project will not deliver a theoretical potential but a more realistic and feasible potential by applying biophysical, environmental, technical and finally economic constraints to the measures. Then, the project members will be able to better evaluate and compare which of these agricultural measures are the most promising and where in order to mitigate climate change. They plan to deliver first maps including the biophysical, environmental and technical constraints by the end of the year based on European data sets. Next year, the economic constraints will be applied as well as national runs of the model with higher quality data allowing for a better resolution and an even more realistic quantification of the potential of these measures to sequester C.

These numbers will be a guide for stakeholders towards reaching the aim of C sequestration in soils allowing the not only to combat climate change but also increase the soils health, fertility and resilience towards changes in future climate.

Experimental set up for studying the effect of irrigation on soil organic carbon with rainfed plots vs. irrigated plots.


For more information: 

CarboSeq: https://ejpsoil.eu/soil-research/carboseq

Project manager: Axel Don (axel.don@thuenen.de)

Project communication representative: Felix Seidel (felix.seidel@thuenen.de)