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Soil: The Largest Reservoir Of Carbon

Updated on November 20, 2017
Rayan Milkton profile image

Rayan Milkton, is an Architect(Software), whose hobbies include creative writing.

Soil as the largest reservoir of carbon dioxide may be too hard to believe, but soil stores up to three times more carbon dioxide than that present in our atmosphere, and this unique characteristic has been sadly ignored. Huge amounts of greenhouse gases can be stored by minerals, few feet beneath the top soil, thereby tackling global warming.

We can curtail bad farming practices, thus conserving carbon in the ground and preventing unwanted emission of greenhouse gases. A very significant portion of carbon is isolated in top soil — about three feet below the ground. Top soil is primarily used for farming and grazing. By using good farming practices, we can preserve carbon in the top soil and thus assuage global warming. In fact, nitrogen and carbon present under the soil are invariably connected with the minerals in one way or another.

By comprehending how minerals regulate carbon and nitrogen, farmers will adopt improved management practices, hence retaining more subsoil carbon. By thoroughly scrutinizing the soil and by deeply understanding the process by which the minerals are linked to carbon, we could come up with novel ideas to save subsoil carbon. Land degradation not only reduces carbon in the soil, but also reduces crop yields. Deforestation, farming peat lands and clearing prairies normally leads to reduced carbon in the soil. With zero carbon and no microbes, soil becomes dirt or worthless.

Regenerative farming like planting crops throughout the year, or agroforestry — which combines crops, trees and animal husbandry — will certainly help mitigate global warming. Afforestation, reforestation, improved pasture management, restoration of mangroves, better erosion control, use of legumes in crop rotation, sea grasses, and salt marshes will unquestionably increase soil carbon in our ecosystem. Dead decaying plants serve as huge carbon sinks. Prairies, which are deep-rooted plants, act as great carbon sinks. Trees or deep-rooted grasses also function as excellent carbon sinks. Storing carbon in plant biomass underneath the soil is yet another innovative idea.

Widespread adoption of good soil conservation practices, to hide away carbon, will quell global warming.

Do bad farming practices, deplete subsoil carbon ?

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