Characterising the biophysical, economic and social impacts of soil carbon sequestration as a greenhouse gas removal technology

Alasdair J. Sykes (Corresponding Author), Michael MacLeod, Vera Eory, Robert M. Rees, Florian Payen, Vasilis Myrgiotis, Mathew Williams, Saran Sohi, Jon Hillier, Dominic Moran, David A. C. Manning, Pietro Goglio, Michele Seghetta, Adrian Williams, Jim Harris, Marta Dondini, Jack Walton, Joanna House, Pete Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

To limit warming to well below 2°C, most scenario projections rely on greenhouse gas removal technologies (GGRTs); one such GGRT uses soil carbon sequestration (SCS) in agricultural land. In addition to their role in mitigating climate change, SCS practices play a role in delivering agroecosystem resilience, climate change adaptability and food security. Environmental heterogeneity and differences in agricultural practices challenge the practical implementation of SCS, and our analysis addresses the associated knowledge gap. Previous assessments have focused on global potentials, but there is a need among policymakers to operationalise SCS. Here, we assess a range of practices already proposed to deliver SCS, and distil these into a subset of specific measures. We provide a multidisciplinary summary of the barriers and potential incentives towards practical implementation of these measures. First, we identify specific practices with potential for both a positive impact on SCS at farm level and an uptake rate compatible with global impact. These focus on: (a) optimising crop primary productivity (e.g. nutrient optimisation, pH management, irrigation); (b) reducing soil disturbance and managing soil physical properties (e.g. improved rotations, minimum till); (c) minimising deliberate removal of C or lateral transport via erosion processes (e.g. support measures, bare fallow reduction); (d) addition of C produced outside the system (e.g. organic manure amendments, biochar addition); (e) provision of additional C inputs within the cropping system (e.g. agroforestry, cover cropping). We then consider economic and non-cost barriers and incentives for land managers implementing these measures, along with the potential externalised impacts of implementation. This offers a framework and reference point for holistic assessment of the impacts of SCS. Finally, we summarise and discuss the ability of extant scientific approaches to quantify the technical potential and externalities of SCS measures, and the barriers and incentives to their implementation in global agricultural systems.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Early online date26 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Oct 2019

Fingerprint

social impact
soil carbon
economic impact
Greenhouse gases
carbon sequestration
greenhouse gas
Carbon
Soils
Economics
incentive
cropping practice
Climate change
climate change
removal
agricultural ecosystem
agroforestry
agricultural practice
food security
fallow
farming system

Keywords

  • soil organic carbon
  • sequestration
  • greenhouse gas removal
  • negative emissions
  • agriculture
  • four per mile
  • LIFE-CYCLE ASSESSMENT
  • 4 per mille
  • soil carbon sequestration
  • CLIMATE-CHANGE
  • MICROBIAL BIOMASS
  • TREE-CROP INTERACTIONS
  • LAND-USE CHANGE
  • ORGANIC-CARBON
  • NO-TILL
  • AGRICULTURAL SOILS
  • COVER CROPS
  • BELOW-GROUND CARBON

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Characterising the biophysical, economic and social impacts of soil carbon sequestration as a greenhouse gas removal technology. / Sykes, Alasdair J. (Corresponding Author); MacLeod, Michael; Eory, Vera; Rees, Robert M.; Payen, Florian; Myrgiotis, Vasilis; Williams, Mathew; Sohi, Saran; Hillier, Jon; Moran, Dominic; Manning, David A. C.; Goglio, Pietro; Seghetta, Michele; Williams, Adrian; Harris, Jim; Dondini, Marta; Walton, Jack; House, Joanna; Smith, Pete.

In: Global Change Biology, 26.10.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sykes, AJ, MacLeod, M, Eory, V, Rees, RM, Payen, F, Myrgiotis, V, Williams, M, Sohi, S, Hillier, J, Moran, D, Manning, DAC, Goglio, P, Seghetta, M, Williams, A, Harris, J, Dondini, M, Walton, J, House, J & Smith, P 2019, 'Characterising the biophysical, economic and social impacts of soil carbon sequestration as a greenhouse gas removal technology', Global Change Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14844
Sykes, Alasdair J. ; MacLeod, Michael ; Eory, Vera ; Rees, Robert M. ; Payen, Florian ; Myrgiotis, Vasilis ; Williams, Mathew ; Sohi, Saran ; Hillier, Jon ; Moran, Dominic ; Manning, David A. C. ; Goglio, Pietro ; Seghetta, Michele ; Williams, Adrian ; Harris, Jim ; Dondini, Marta ; Walton, Jack ; House, Joanna ; Smith, Pete. / Characterising the biophysical, economic and social impacts of soil carbon sequestration as a greenhouse gas removal technology. In: Global Change Biology. 2019.
@article{40f7406ee4c44ef189e89e87a9fcef10,
title = "Characterising the biophysical, economic and social impacts of soil carbon sequestration as a greenhouse gas removal technology",
abstract = "To limit warming to well below 2°C, most scenario projections rely on greenhouse gas removal technologies (GGRTs); one such GGRT uses soil carbon sequestration (SCS) in agricultural land. In addition to their role in mitigating climate change, SCS practices play a role in delivering agroecosystem resilience, climate change adaptability and food security. Environmental heterogeneity and differences in agricultural practices challenge the practical implementation of SCS, and our analysis addresses the associated knowledge gap. Previous assessments have focused on global potentials, but there is a need among policymakers to operationalise SCS. Here, we assess a range of practices already proposed to deliver SCS, and distil these into a subset of specific measures. We provide a multidisciplinary summary of the barriers and potential incentives towards practical implementation of these measures. First, we identify specific practices with potential for both a positive impact on SCS at farm level and an uptake rate compatible with global impact. These focus on: (a) optimising crop primary productivity (e.g. nutrient optimisation, pH management, irrigation); (b) reducing soil disturbance and managing soil physical properties (e.g. improved rotations, minimum till); (c) minimising deliberate removal of C or lateral transport via erosion processes (e.g. support measures, bare fallow reduction); (d) addition of C produced outside the system (e.g. organic manure amendments, biochar addition); (e) provision of additional C inputs within the cropping system (e.g. agroforestry, cover cropping). We then consider economic and non-cost barriers and incentives for land managers implementing these measures, along with the potential externalised impacts of implementation. This offers a framework and reference point for holistic assessment of the impacts of SCS. Finally, we summarise and discuss the ability of extant scientific approaches to quantify the technical potential and externalities of SCS measures, and the barriers and incentives to their implementation in global agricultural systems.",
keywords = "soil organic carbon, sequestration, greenhouse gas removal, negative emissions, agriculture, four per mile, LIFE-CYCLE ASSESSMENT, 4 per mille, soil carbon sequestration, CLIMATE-CHANGE, MICROBIAL BIOMASS, TREE-CROP INTERACTIONS, LAND-USE CHANGE, ORGANIC-CARBON, NO-TILL, AGRICULTURAL SOILS, COVER CROPS, BELOW-GROUND CARBON",
author = "Sykes, {Alasdair J.} and Michael MacLeod and Vera Eory and Rees, {Robert M.} and Florian Payen and Vasilis Myrgiotis and Mathew Williams and Saran Sohi and Jon Hillier and Dominic Moran and Manning, {David A. C.} and Pietro Goglio and Michele Seghetta and Adrian Williams and Jim Harris and Marta Dondini and Jack Walton and Joanna House and Pete Smith",
note = "Acknowledgements This research was supported by funding from the Natural Environmental Research Council in the UK (Soils Research to deliver Greenhouse Gas Removals and Abatement Technologies (Grant No. NE/P019463/1) under its GGR programme",
year = "2019",
month = "10",
day = "26",
doi = "10.1111/gcb.14844",
language = "English",
journal = "Global Change Biology",
issn = "1354-1013",
publisher = "John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (10.1111)",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Characterising the biophysical, economic and social impacts of soil carbon sequestration as a greenhouse gas removal technology

AU - Sykes, Alasdair J.

AU - MacLeod, Michael

AU - Eory, Vera

AU - Rees, Robert M.

AU - Payen, Florian

AU - Myrgiotis, Vasilis

AU - Williams, Mathew

AU - Sohi, Saran

AU - Hillier, Jon

AU - Moran, Dominic

AU - Manning, David A. C.

AU - Goglio, Pietro

AU - Seghetta, Michele

AU - Williams, Adrian

AU - Harris, Jim

AU - Dondini, Marta

AU - Walton, Jack

AU - House, Joanna

AU - Smith, Pete

N1 - Acknowledgements This research was supported by funding from the Natural Environmental Research Council in the UK (Soils Research to deliver Greenhouse Gas Removals and Abatement Technologies (Grant No. NE/P019463/1) under its GGR programme

PY - 2019/10/26

Y1 - 2019/10/26

N2 - To limit warming to well below 2°C, most scenario projections rely on greenhouse gas removal technologies (GGRTs); one such GGRT uses soil carbon sequestration (SCS) in agricultural land. In addition to their role in mitigating climate change, SCS practices play a role in delivering agroecosystem resilience, climate change adaptability and food security. Environmental heterogeneity and differences in agricultural practices challenge the practical implementation of SCS, and our analysis addresses the associated knowledge gap. Previous assessments have focused on global potentials, but there is a need among policymakers to operationalise SCS. Here, we assess a range of practices already proposed to deliver SCS, and distil these into a subset of specific measures. We provide a multidisciplinary summary of the barriers and potential incentives towards practical implementation of these measures. First, we identify specific practices with potential for both a positive impact on SCS at farm level and an uptake rate compatible with global impact. These focus on: (a) optimising crop primary productivity (e.g. nutrient optimisation, pH management, irrigation); (b) reducing soil disturbance and managing soil physical properties (e.g. improved rotations, minimum till); (c) minimising deliberate removal of C or lateral transport via erosion processes (e.g. support measures, bare fallow reduction); (d) addition of C produced outside the system (e.g. organic manure amendments, biochar addition); (e) provision of additional C inputs within the cropping system (e.g. agroforestry, cover cropping). We then consider economic and non-cost barriers and incentives for land managers implementing these measures, along with the potential externalised impacts of implementation. This offers a framework and reference point for holistic assessment of the impacts of SCS. Finally, we summarise and discuss the ability of extant scientific approaches to quantify the technical potential and externalities of SCS measures, and the barriers and incentives to their implementation in global agricultural systems.

AB - To limit warming to well below 2°C, most scenario projections rely on greenhouse gas removal technologies (GGRTs); one such GGRT uses soil carbon sequestration (SCS) in agricultural land. In addition to their role in mitigating climate change, SCS practices play a role in delivering agroecosystem resilience, climate change adaptability and food security. Environmental heterogeneity and differences in agricultural practices challenge the practical implementation of SCS, and our analysis addresses the associated knowledge gap. Previous assessments have focused on global potentials, but there is a need among policymakers to operationalise SCS. Here, we assess a range of practices already proposed to deliver SCS, and distil these into a subset of specific measures. We provide a multidisciplinary summary of the barriers and potential incentives towards practical implementation of these measures. First, we identify specific practices with potential for both a positive impact on SCS at farm level and an uptake rate compatible with global impact. These focus on: (a) optimising crop primary productivity (e.g. nutrient optimisation, pH management, irrigation); (b) reducing soil disturbance and managing soil physical properties (e.g. improved rotations, minimum till); (c) minimising deliberate removal of C or lateral transport via erosion processes (e.g. support measures, bare fallow reduction); (d) addition of C produced outside the system (e.g. organic manure amendments, biochar addition); (e) provision of additional C inputs within the cropping system (e.g. agroforestry, cover cropping). We then consider economic and non-cost barriers and incentives for land managers implementing these measures, along with the potential externalised impacts of implementation. This offers a framework and reference point for holistic assessment of the impacts of SCS. Finally, we summarise and discuss the ability of extant scientific approaches to quantify the technical potential and externalities of SCS measures, and the barriers and incentives to their implementation in global agricultural systems.

KW - soil organic carbon

KW - sequestration

KW - greenhouse gas removal

KW - negative emissions

KW - agriculture

KW - four per mile

KW - LIFE-CYCLE ASSESSMENT

KW - 4 per mille

KW - soil carbon sequestration

KW - CLIMATE-CHANGE

KW - MICROBIAL BIOMASS

KW - TREE-CROP INTERACTIONS

KW - LAND-USE CHANGE

KW - ORGANIC-CARBON

KW - NO-TILL

KW - AGRICULTURAL SOILS

KW - COVER CROPS

KW - BELOW-GROUND CARBON

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85074605277&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/gcb.14844

DO - 10.1111/gcb.14844

M3 - Article

JO - Global Change Biology

JF - Global Change Biology

SN - 1354-1013

ER -