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Towards Cost Efficient Soil Carbon Measurement and Monitoring
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Towards Cost Efficient Soil Carbon Measurement and Monitoring

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Professor Alex. McBratney of Sydnet University delivers a stunning presentation on remote sensing and its promise of satellites 'spying' on plants to help save the world from climate crisis.

Professor Alex. McBratney of Sydnet University delivers a stunning presentation on remote sensing and its promise of satellites 'spying' on plants to help save the world from climate crisis.

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    • 1. Towards More Efficient Soil Carbon Measurement and Monitoring Alex. M c Bratney Budiman Minasny Australian Centre for Precision Agriculture Faculty of Agriculture Food & Natural Resources
    • 2. Rationale
      • Soil stores a lot of carbon
      • The win-win of storing carbon
    • 3. Soil stores a lot of carbon 1
      • Global organic C storage (0-1 m):
      • 1,200 – 1,600 Petagrams
      • Soil carbonate carbon larger
      Atmosphere 770 Vegetation 600 Oceans 40 000 Global NPP 57 Petagram = 10 15 g = 10 12 kg = 10 9 tonnes
    • 4. Soil stores a lot of carbon 2
      • Globally NPP : 57 x 10 9 t C y -1
      • Edgeroi (150 000 ha):
      • C org Storage (to 1m) : 13 x 10 6 t C
      • IA Watson (427 ha)
        • C org Storage (to 1m) : 25 x 10 3 t C
    • 5. Carbon Storage (0-1 m) (kg m -2 ) 1 = kg m -2 = 10 tonnes/ha C Storage Edgeroi 0 - 5 5 - 6 6 - 7 7 - 8 8 - 9 9 - 10 10 - 11 11 - 12 12 - 14 14 - 16 16 - 18 18 - 20 0 - 5 5 - 6 6 - 7 7 - 8 8 - 9 9 - 10 10 - 11 11 - 12 12 - 14 14 - 16 16 - 18 18 - 20
    • 6. The win-win of storing carbon
      • Results from StrucC – Malamoud, McBratney, Minasny & Field 2008
    • 7.  
    • 8.  
    • 9. The proposition
      • A soil carbon accounting and trading scheme
    • 10. A soil carbon accounting and trading scheme Independent auditor Carbon Emitter Landholder Government Buy C offset Certified Carbon Emission Reduction credits Offsetting company soil carbon sequestration contract Carbon emission target Audit soil C at beginning and end of sequestration contract soil carbon audit reporting trail soil C auditing TOOL (Research) Advisor of Land management system Management to optimise C sequestration Ongoing Land Management and Soil Research reporting reporting e.g. C-Lock
    • 11. The problem
      • Soil carbon is difficult and relatively expensive to measure and monitor
      • Two aspects
    • 12. Cost of measuring soil C
      • Soil sampling ~ $100/profile
      • Each profile: 4 layers, total C measurement: $40
      • Cost per profile: $140
    • 13. Variation of soil carbon with depth and across space
    • 14. Changes over time Odeh et al. (2002)
    • 15. And by the way ….. 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 No. years in irrigated cultivation Total C (dag kg -1 ) SEQUESTRATION POTENTIAL
    • 16. Changes over time General trend of total soil C storage decline ~0.6 kg m -2 in 20 years Over the whole area (427 ha) ~ 2700 ton C
    • 17. Solutions ……
      • Cheaper measurement
      • Defining the object
      • Monitoring scheme
      • Stochastic contracts
    • 18. Cheaper measurement
      • Lab and field NIR/MIR, LIBS, INS
      • Cheaper but less precise
    • 19. Cheaper measurement
      • field NIR - profiler
      • Cheaper but less precise
    • 20.  
    • 21.  
    • 22.  
    • 23. Cheaper measurement
      • field NIR –
      • on-the-go
      • Faster, one depth Cheaper but less precise
    • 24. Inelastic neutron scattering Wielopolski et al., 2008 Nondestructive System for Analyzing Carbon in the Soil. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 72, 1269-1277
    • 25. Defining the object
      • What should the object be?
      • Paddock, landuse etc.
      • Need to measure  C
    • 26. Monitoring scheme
      • Scheme to measure  C with minimised known uncertainty
    • 27. Monitoring scheme
      • Too expensive?
      • Something simpler required
      • Need whole paddocks or properties
      Source: Australian Natural Resources Atlas http://www.anra.gov.au/topics/soils/monitoring/index.html
    • 28. Nowley Liverpool Plains 2008 stratified random sampling scheme 1 Crop 2 Drainage 1 Remnant 2 Crop 1 Pasture 2 Pasture 3 Crop 3 Drainage 3 Pasture 4 Crop 4 Remnant 5 Pasture 4 Pasture Sample location N
    • 29. Total C kg/m 3 N 6-10 11-15 16-20 21-25 26-30 31-35
    • 30. STRATUM Total Carbon (kg/m 3 ) Stratum Area % Stratum Area (ha) Carbon (Mg = tonne) 4 cropping 13.4 34.5 247 33105 1 pasture 14.9 3.0 7 1086 4 pasture 15.1 1.7 169 25614 2 cropping 15.2 1.3 175 26532 2 drainage 16.6 16.0 10 1679 3 cropping 18.3 9.9 534 97741 3 drainage 18.4 10.9 46 8503 3 pasture 19.9 0.7 46 9212 1 cropping 20.5 4.5 12 2439 4 remnant veg 22.8 0.5 20 4459 1 remnant veg 23.0 11.3 70 16088 2 pasture 26.0 0.8 153 39821 5 pasture 27.1 5.1 79 21346 Total C to 1 m = 287 627 tonnes Total area of Nowley = 1570 ha
    • 31.
      • STILL TOO EXPENSIVE!!?
    • 32. Carbon calculators Indicative Not accurate
    • 33. Suggestion “Moral hazard reduction” contracts
      • Inevitable uncertainty in  C.
      • Pay carbon sequesterer on, say, lower 95% confidence value
      • But if producer wants higher payment then he can invest in more measurement to reduce  C uncertainty.
    • 34. Latest developments
      • We have a 3-year Australian Research Council Linkage project to work on this – awarded Oct. 2008, begins Mar. 2009
      • Partners USyd ACPA, EES and 3DAg.
    • 35. Summary Independent auditor Carbon Emitter Landholder Government Buy C offset Certified Carbon Emission Reduction credits Offsetting company soil carbon sequestration contract Carbon emission target Audit soil C at beginning and end of sequestration contract soil carbon audit reporting trail soil C auditing TOOL (Research) Advisor of Land management system Management to optimise C sequestration Ongoing Land Management and Soil Research reporting reporting e.g. C-Lock
    • 36. Conclusion
      • Soil carbon auditing as part of carbon emissions offsets trading
      • There’s a good reason to do it
      • There are some obstacles
      • We need to find solutions quickly but we’re on the way
    • 37. results N Total C kg/m3 1 - 16.60 16.61 – 20.48 20.49 – 22.99 23.00 – 27.05

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