Under what conditions will carbon sequestration benefit agroecosystem services?

By enhancing carbon sequestration in soils, agricultural management practices improve agroecosystem services, such as soil quality and biodiversity. However, soil carbon sequestration comes at a cost of other services. A ranked list of climate-zone indicators will increase the predictability of the magnitude of the trade-offs in agricultural soils.

Most trade-offs have to do with climate regulation. It is still uncertain under which conditions the synergies or trade-offs of carbon sequestration prevail. The EJP SOIL project TRACE-Soils is generating applicable mitigation strategies and indicators.

Across a broad range of climatic and soil conditions, TRACE Soils addresses the following research areas:

  • Look at existing knowledge on how management practices shift soil structure and soil biota, and determine the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O), as well as the losses in nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P).  
  • Analyse how trade-offs and synergies link to structural and biological factors in long-term experiments.
  • Scale-up trade-off analysis to the provincial level in Europe by using modelling scenarios. The results will be used to propose a ranked list of climate-zone specific indicators and measures to assess and mitigate the trade-offs of C sequestration.  

Experiments reveal effects of minimising soil disturbance  

1000 soil samples are collected across seven long-term agricultural experiments participating in the EJP SOIL consortium. All experiments allow research concerning the effects of minimising soil disturbance including three treatments: conventional, reduced and zero tillage. Also, analysis of the chemical, physical and biological attributes of the soil will be performed.

With the gained knowledge the mechanism underpinning the trade-offs associated to soil carbon sequestration practices in Europe will be identified, and it will contribute to the identification of indicators to asses and mitigate trade-offs.

 “The results will help raising awareness of the relevance of agricultural practices that increase soil carbon while minimizing trade-offs, and the results will provide clear and applicable mitigation strategies and indicators”, says Marta Goberna, coordinator of TRACE-Soil, INIA

Finally, the highly collaborative approach implemented in TRACE-Soils enforce the establishment of a strong networks based on the common interest of developing knowledge and tools to foster climate-smart sustainable agricultural soil management.

Watch the TRACE-Soils videos:

TRACE-Soils’ objectives: Watch the video, click here.

TRACE-Soils Literature library: Watch the video, click here.

TRACE-Soils: Communication about the project: Watch the video, click here.

About TRACE-Soils:

Goal: To identify the mechanisms underpinning trade-offs and synergies of soil carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient losses in agricultural soils across Europe, and propose climate-zone specific indicators and measures to mitigate trade-offs..

TRACE-Soils will identify soil abiotic and biotic predictors of trade-off magnitudes, and test them in long-term experiments across a NE-SW pedoclimatic gradient in Europe. Modelling scenarios will be posed to scale-up trade-off analysis to the provincial level.

Outputs of reviews, experiments and models will serve to propose a ranked list of climate-zone specific indicators and measures to assess and mitigate trade-offs.

For further information:

Project coordinator, Marta Goberna: marta.Goberna@inia.es

Project deputy coordinator: Sara Sánchez-Moreno: sarasm@inia.es  

Project communication representative: Cristina Aponte: cristinaaponte@gmail.com