EPA Science Inventory

Soil carbon sequestration: Quantifying this ecosystem service

Citation:

JOHNSON, M. G. Soil carbon sequestration: Quantifying this ecosystem service. Presented at Oregon Society of Soil Science Annual Meeting, Newport, OR, February 28 - 29, 2008.

Description:

Soils have a crucial role in supplying many goods and services that society depends upon on a daily basis. These include food and fiber production, water cleansing and supply, nutrient cycling, waste isolation and degradation. Soils also provide a significant amount of carbon sequestration. In fact, at 1500 Pg of carbon, soils are the largest non-fossil reservoir of carbon. They hold twice the amount of carbon as the atmosphere and approximately three times that held in vegetation. Carbon held in soils is key to many of the goods and services provided by soils. Currently there is much discussion about promoting carbon sequestration to offset atmospheric carbon dioxide by offering some sort of incentives via direct payments or carbon credits. This proposition raises a number of questions. For example, what is the best way to determine the quantity and quality of carbon in soils? How much carbon can a soil sequester? How fast can that carbon be sequestered? How stable is soil carbon? What proportion of soil carbon is labile and how much is recalcitrant? Is soil carbon in forests different than that in agricultural soils? Does our focus on soil carbon sequestration as an atmospheric offset prevent us from recognizing the other ecosystem services it provides? This presentation will examine these and other questions for the purpose of quantifying the amount and quality of carbon held in soils and for estimating the potential for additional carbon sequestration. A new research effort in the Willamette Valley to quantify carbon sequestration will also be described.

Purpose/Objective:

Soils have a crucial role in supplying many goods and services that society depends upon on a daily basis.

URLs/Downloads:

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Start Date: 02/29/2008
Completion Date: 02/29/2008
Record Last Revised: 05/30/2008
Record Created: 03/27/2008
Record Released: 03/27/2008
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 189753

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION

ECOLOGICAL EFFECTS BRANCH