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Stewardship of Natural Resources 8.10.09

by MidwestRuralAssembly on Aug 10, 2009

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Midwest Rural Assembly

Midwest Rural Assembly
August 10, 2009
presented by Martin Kleinschmit

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• This program will discuss the results of work sponsored by NETF and NRCS and performed by CFRA staff from 2002 to 2007. What do farmers need to know to…
• Bulk density ----------------- Soils vary in weight per given volume. Healthy, biologically active soils weigh around 1 tonne per cubic metre, whilst heavy clays that contain little or no organic matter (such as clays that might be used for brickmaking) weigh up to 1.8 tonnes per cubic metre. In general, healthy soils are more porous, have more air holes and contain more light weight organic matter than biologically degraded soils. For this example we have chosen to us a commonly occurring bulk density of 1.4 tonnes per cubic metre. % Change in Soil Organic Matter -------------------------------------------- Once the mass of a soil is calculated by multiplying volume by Bulk Density, it is possible to calculate the change in mass per % change in Soil Organic Matter (SOM). At any Bulk Density the change remains the same, regardless of whether the soil improves from 1% SOM to 2% or from 10% SOM to 11%. Soil Organic Matter contains approximately 58% elemental Carbon Converting Carbon Dioxide (CO2) to Carbon ------------------------------------------------------------ On the Periodic Table, carbon has a weight of 12 and oxygen 16. Carbon dioxide, which contains 2 x oxygen and 1 x carbon therefore weighs 44. To achieve a 1 unit move in carbon from carbon dioxide the conversion ratio is 44/12 or 3.67. For every tonne of carbon sequestered 3.67 tonnes of carbon dioxide must be removed from the atmosphere. The full maths for this slide ------------------------------------ 10,000 sq. metres x 33.55 cm = 3,355 cubic metres per hectare 3,355 cubic metre x 1.4 BD = 4,697 tonnes of soil per hectare to a depth of 33.5 cm A 1% change in this mass = 46.97 tonnes Which contains 46.97 x 58% = 27.24 tonnes of Carbon Captured Carbon 27.24 tonnes x 3.67 = 99.98 tonnes CO2

Stewardship of Natural Resources 8.10.09Presentation Transcript

• Carbon Sequestration Breaking New Ground Building the Base
• Carbon Sequestration
• Research shows soils can sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
• Farmers and ranchers manage the land.
• What do farmers need to know to adopt practices that sequester carbon?
• Why farmers should be concerned about global warming
• Who will be affected most – soonest
• Higher incidences of extreme weather events (over 2” of rain)
• Time is critical
• Carbon evaporates when soil temperatures reach 79 degrees F.
• As global temperatures increase, more carbon will evaporate.
• Building carbon reserves now will pay off now and in the future.
• 40-50 year window if we know how.
• Carbon is an element of nature
• The basis for life
• Part of everything that lives and has lived
• Carbon can be a gas or a solid -
• in the earth or around the earth
• Carbon is dynamic, but also constant:
• It constantly changes . . .
• gas to solid
• atmosphere to soil
• coal to diamonds
• valuable to problematic
• Carbon is critical to soil health because it influences :
• Infiltration rate
• Holding capacity
• Nutrient exchange
• Oxygen exchange
• Promotes soil life
• Soil Life:
• The difference between soil and dirt
• Each 1% organic matter means up to 40lbs. of free nitrogen
• There are more organisms in a tablespoon of healthy soil than people on the earth.
• Carbon is essential to life:
• Carbon is the food for microorganisms.
• Without microorganisms there is no soil life.
• Without soil life there is no nutrient exchange.
• Without nutrient exchange there is no food for us.
• The Value of Soil Carbon
• Nutrient exchange depends on moisture
• Oxygen exchange – carbon holds soil particles apart making soil softer
• Soil life needs moisture and oxygen to live
• Carbon increases holding capacity
• Teaching Points:
• Growing plants capture carbon dioxide
• Carbon needs to be added continually
• Carbon leaves naturally
• Tillage speeds the loss
• Manure/compost adds carbon (concentration of plants material)
• Carbon comes from roots
• Potential Carbon Impact Practice ( kg C / ha /year)
• Unfortunately, many habitats are now too damaged to support the wildlif that once maintained them.
• In such damaged landscapes, simply protecting or reintroducing wild species usually fails.
• Managed livestock can successfully restore these areas, then maintain them until wildlife populations recover.
• Early settlers plowing the prairie – To survive in a seemingly hostile environment
• People who farmed sustainably for over 40 centuries now lose 18 lbs of farmable soil for every 1 lb of food eaten
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• Historical Carbon Levels
• The simple math behind Soil Carbon
• One hectare = 10,000 sq. metres
• Soil 33.5 cm deep (1 foot approx)
• Bulk density = 1.4 tonnes per cubic metre
• Soil mass per hectare = about 4,700 tonnes
• 1% change in soil organic matter = 47 tonnes
• Which gives about 27 tonnes Soil Carbon
• This captured 100 tonnes of atmospheric CO 2
• The True Scale of “The Job”
• Reduce annual emissions from combustion to levels that are matched by biological sequestration
• Relocate about 200 billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere to the soils of the world. I.e., increase soil organic matter levels about 2% to a foot of depth on 5.1 billion hectares of agricultural and grazing land.
• FACT FACT FACT
• FACT: “Carbon scrubbing” at source does not reduce the existing CO2 burden in the atmosphere FACT: Plantation tree farms can be net emitters in their early stages and take many years to reach their sequestration potential
• FACT FACT FACT
• FACT: “Geosequestation” (burial beneath deep cap rock formations and in exhausted oil wells) does not reduce the existing CO2 burden and researchers say it could take 100 years to determine if it is effective
• FACT FACT FACT
• FACT: Solar Power cannot sequester CO2
• FACT: Wind turbines cannot sequester CO2
• FACT: Deep sea burial threatens the chemical balance of the oceans (especially shell formation)