Compost can turn agricultural soils into a carbon sink

http://www.eurekalert.org /
Contact: Mithu Mukherjee snipped-for-privacy@sagepub.co.uk 020-732-42223
SAGE Publications UK
Compost can turn agricultural soils into a carbon sink, thus protecting against climate change
Special issue of Waste Management and Research published today by SAGE Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and Singapore (25 February, 2008) Applying organic fertilizers, such as those resulting from composting, to agricultural land could increase the amount of carbon stored in these soils and contribute significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, according to new research published in a special issue of Waste Management & Research (Special issue published today by SAGE). Carbon sequestration in soil has been recognized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the European Commission as one of the possible measures through which greenhouse gas emissions can be mitigated.
One estimate of the potential value of this approach which assumed that 20% of the surface of agricultural land in the EU could be used as a sink for carbon suggested it could constitute about 8.6% of the total EU emission-reduction objective. An increase of just 0.15% in organic carbon in arable soils in a country like Italy would effectively imply the sequestration of the same amount of carbon within soil that is currently released into the atmosphere in a period of one year through the use of fossil fuels, write Enzo Favoino and Dominic Hogg, authors of the paper. Furthermore, increasing organic matter in soils may cause other greenhouse gas-saving effects, such as improved workability of soils, better water retention, less production and use of mineral fertilizers and pesticides, and reduced release of nitrous oxide. However, capitalizing on this potential climate-change mitigation measure is not a simple task. The issue is complicated by the fact that industrial farming techniques mean agriculture is actually depleting carbon from soil, thus reducing its capacity to act as a carbon sink. According to Hogg and Favoino, this loss of carbon sink capacity is not permanent. Composting can contribute in a positive way to the twin objectives of restoring soil quality and sequestering carbon in soils. Applications of organic matter (in the form of organic fertilizers) can lead either to a build-up of soil organic carbon over time, or a reduction in the rate at which organic matter is depleted from soils. In either case, the overall quantity of organic matter in soils will be higher than using no organic fertilizer. What organic fertilizers can do is reverse the decline in soil organic matter that has occurred in relatively recent decades by contributing to the build-up in the stable organic fraction in soils, and having the effect, in any given year, of ensuring that more carbon is held within the soil, they explain. But calculating the value of this technique to climate change policies is complicated. To refine previous calculations and to take account of the positive and negative dynamics of carbon storage in soil, Favoino and Hogg modelled the dynamics of compost application and build-up balancing this with mineralization and loss through tillage. Their results suggest that soils where manure was added have soil organic carbon levels 1.34% higher than un-amended soils, and 1.13% higher than soils amended with chemical fertilizers, over a 50-year period. This is clearly significant given the evaluations reported above regarding carbon being lost from soils, and the increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, they say.
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The potential role of compost in reducing greenhouse gases by Enzo Favoino and Dominic Hogg is published on Monday 25 February in a special issue of Waste Management & Research, entitled Green House Gases and Solid Waste Management. The article will be free online for two months. The special issue will be available on SAGE Journals Online from Monday 25th February at http://wmr.sagepub.com/current.dtl . Waste Management & Research is a peer-reviewed journal that satisfies the growing demand for essential information that can be practically applied by those who are responsible for the management of both municipal and industrial waste. The journal publishes results from a broad cross section of researchers and practitioners in the field; from academic institutions, governments and the private sector. SAGE is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. Since 1965, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students spanning a wide range of subject areas including business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology and medicine. An independent company, SAGE has principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and Singapore. www.sagepub.co.uk
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Good article. As noted at the end of the next to last paragraph, CO2 is lost through tillage. Another reason to investigate no-dig gardening.

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Billy

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The real work is to build up our soils. It seems to me and others.
(Amazon.com product link shortened) />/ ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid03957584&sr=1-1
or
http://tinyurl.com/25r9uu
Gary Again Sorry as it may seem like think like this. I'd say consider this take the useful and discard the rest . Then evaluate in a few years and make more mistakes.
Bill a neat book non the less.
Some Music
Welcome On Earth (To Tom) 5:26 Shed At the Crossroads Electronic
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To build up and conserve. Deforestation and fallow fields lead to erosion of top soil by wind and water, and reduction of rain fall. This leads to reduced recharging of aquifers, pollution of ground water, destruction of land and water habitats (including game animals and fish in the last remains of our commons), and reduction of potable water for human use.

You're always out flanking me on cultural issues, Bill (thanks, I need the stretch).
At work, I like listening to music (usually blues) but at home, about all I want to hear are my wind chimes.
Most poetry and prose either doesn't touch me or makes me work too hard. That's unfortunate because the poet's eye seems, to me, to be the best protection we have against banality. The problem is to find art that speaks to you (in the editorial sense) because all art isn't for all people.
That is not to say though that I don't occasionally get blown away by poetry, especially haiku. The last time that it happened was in Peter O'Tool's movie, "Venus":
Sonnet XVIII, Shall I Compare Thee? By William Shakespeare
Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day? Thou are more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And Summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd: But thy eternal Summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st; Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st: So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
I love being in love;-)
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Billy

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Thanks for the pointing to Venus!
Bill Dealing with a son with real flu and a dad with post surgery bowels issues. Come on Spring!
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If you haven't seen it, I think you'll like it. It's an ol' man's kinda movie, where alcohol and pretty girls doth make fools of old men (a line from Franois Rabelais). Not that I need any external help.
Readers, friends, if you turn these pages Put your prejudice aside, For, really, there's nothing here that's outrageous, Nothing sick, or bad or contagious. Not that I sit here glowing with pride For my book: all you'll find is laughter: That's all the glory my heart is after, Seeing how sorrow eats you, defeats you. I'd rather write about laughing than crying, For laughter makes men human, and courageous.
BE HAPPY!

Over here on the "Left" coast we got the hacks. A nasty cold that falls on you like bricks. Seems to be all over the place from north to south. There also seems to be some stomach flu goin' around too.
Sorry to hear about your dad. Hope his mind is clear. Hospitals are dangerous places. Getting old isn't for sissies, as we are about to find out.
It doesn't rain but that it pours. Best wishes to your significant one as well.
Sounds like your gonna be worn down to a nub by the time everyone is up and healthy again. Keep those sticky hands movin'.
I got my flu and pneumonia shots in January. I had a bit of a TG scare. Two years in a row, the county health clinic showed me as positive to TB. First time I presumed they were nuts. Second time, I went to my doctor got x-rayed and re-tested and both came back negative. Whew. Now all I have to do is wait for new lens for my eye-balls and I'll be as good as pathetic. Just a thrill a minute;-)
Sun finally came out today. Gotta bundle up and run out for provisions.
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Billy

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