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Stewardship of Natural Resources 8.10.09

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Midwest Rural Assembly
August 10, 2009
presented by Martin Kleinschmit

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Stewardship of Natural Resources 8.10.09

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

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