Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sequestering Carbon in YOUR Soil - Are There $$ In It For Me?

Sequestering carbon in soil is not a new concept. It happens naturally, but can it be enhanced on farm and can it actually make some dollars for me, on my farm?

The NSW experience is worth examining in some detail, as a similar system could be useful in the tropics as well. There are a number of links with details on the scheme

http://abc.net.au/science/features/soilcarbon/ provides access, as well as several additional links, with more information.

Tropical regions also lose carbon, with fire the major problem. That may not be a significant issue on many horticulture, pasture and cropping areas, but it can be in native pasture areas where irregular burning occurs.

Annual horticulture will normally benefit from the additional carbon stored in soil, with superior moisture storage in the soil, plus improved nutrient retention, better soil tilth and a higher soil microbiological regime. And those characters may even add to yield and direct economic returns. The carbon can come from compost, mulch, green manure crops, plant residuals such as leaf drop and plant roots, but management must be directed to gain benefit from the carbon.

Benefits need to measured and a value attributed, but it does appear to show some promise. A note of caution though as one of the carbon trading schemes in NSW has appeared shaky.......and may cease.

We are interested in developing this system further and would welcome interaction with rural users in the tropics.

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