Conservation agriculture has been shown to have multiple benefits for soils, crop yield and the environment, and consequently, no-till, the central practice of conservation agriculture, has rapidly expanded. However, studies show that the potential for carbon (C) sequestration in no-till farming sometimes is not realized, let alone the ability to maintain or improve crop yield. Here we present a global analysis of no-till induced changes of soil C and crop yield based on 260 and 1,970 paired studies, respectively. We show that, relative to local conventional tillage, arid regions can benefit the most from conservation agriculture by achieving a win-win outcome of enhanced C sequestration and increased crop yield. However, more humid regions are more likely to increase SOC only, while some colder regions have yield losses with soil C loss as likely as soil C gains. In addition to site-specific characteristics and management, a careful assessment of the regional climate is needed to determine the potential benefits of adopting conservation agriculture.
|Journal||Global Change Biology|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 24 Dec 2019|
Sun, W., Canadell, J. G., Yu, L., Yu, L., Zhang, W., Smith, P., ... Huang, Y. (Accepted/In press). Climate drives global soil carbon sequestration and crop yield changes under conservation agriculture. Global Change Biology.