Responses of soil carbon sequestration to climate-smart agriculture practices: A meta-analysis

Xiongxiong Bai, Yawen Huang, Wei Ren, Mark Coyne, Pierre Andre Jacinthe, Bo Tao, Dafeng Hui, Jian Yang, Chris Matocha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations

Abstract

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) management practices (e.g., conservation tillage, cover crops, and biochar applications) have been widely adopted to enhance soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring crop productivity. However, current measurements regarding the influences of CSA management practices on SOC sequestration diverge widely, making it difficult to derive conclusions about individual and combined CSA management effects and bringing large uncertainties in quantifying the potential of the agricultural sector to mitigate climate change. We conducted a meta-analysis of 3,049 paired measurements from 417 peer-reviewed articles to examine the effects of three common CSA management practices on SOC sequestration as well as the environmental controlling factors. We found that, on average, biochar applications represented the most effective approach for increasing SOC content (39%), followed by cover crops (6%) and conservation tillage (5%). Further analysis suggested that the effects of CSA management practices were more pronounced in areas with relatively warmer climates or lower nitrogen fertilizer inputs. Our meta-analysis demonstrated that, through adopting CSA practices, cropland could be an improved carbon sink. We also highlight the importance of considering local environmental factors (e.g., climate and soil conditions and their combination with other management practices) in identifying appropriate CSA practices for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring crop productivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2591-2606
Number of pages16
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Volume25
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
NIFA‐USDA, Grant/Award Number: 2352437000; National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement, Grant/ Award Number: 1355438; U.S. Department of Agriculture

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture (NIFA-USDA Hatch project 2352437000), and the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement No. 1355438. Bai acknowledges the support of the China Scholarship Council. We thank Elisa D'Angelo for comments and suggestions on the manuscript. We also thank three anonymous reviewers and the editor for comments that improved this manuscript.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture (NIFA‐USDA Hatch project 2352437000), and the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement No. 1355438. Bai acknowledges the sup‐ port of the China Scholarship Council. We thank Elisa D'Angelo for comments and suggestions on the manuscript. We also thank three anonymous reviewers and the editor for comments that improved this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Keywords

  • biochar
  • climate
  • conservation tillage
  • cover crop
  • meta-analysis
  • soil organic carbon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science (all)

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