Conservation management of croplands at the plot scale has demonstrated a great potential to mitigate the greenhouse effect through sequestration of atmospheric carbon (C) into soil. This study estimated the potential of soil to sequester C through the conversion of croplands from conventional tillage (CT) to no-till (NT) in the East Central United States between 1992 and 2012. This study used the baseline soil organic C (SOC) pool (SOCP) inventory and the empirical models that describe the relationships of the SOCP under CT and NT, respectively, to their baseline SOCP in the upper 30-cm depth of soil. The baseline SOCP were obtained from the State Soil Geographic database, and the cropland distribution map was generated from the 1992 National Land Cover Database. The results indicate that if all the croplands under CT in 1992 were converted to NT, the SOCP would increase by 16.8% by 2012, which results in a total C sink of 136 Tg after 20 years. A greater sequestration rate would occur in soils with lower baseline SOCP, but the sink strength would be weaker with increasing SOCP levels. The CT-induced C sources tend to become larger in soils with higher baseline levels, which can be significantly reduced by adopting NT. We conclude that baseline SOC contents are an indicator of C sequestration potential with NT practices. ?? 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
Additional publication details
Using experimental and geospatial data to estimate regional carbon sequestration potential under no-till management