Can N2O emissions offset the benefits from soil organic carbon storage?

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Guenet, B., Gabrielle, B., Chenu, C., Arrouays, D., Balesdent, J., Bernoux, M., Bruni, E., Caliman, J-P., Cardinael, R., Chen, S., Ciais, P., Desbois, D., Fouche, J., Frank, S., Henault, C., Lugato, E., Naipal, V., Nesme, T., Obersteiner, M., Pellerin, S., Powlson, D. S., Rasse, D., Rees, F., Soussana, J-F., Su, Y., Tian, H., Valin, H. and Zhou, F. 2020. Can N2O emissions offset the benefits from soil organic carbon storage? Global Change Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15342

AuthorsGuenet, B., Gabrielle, B., Chenu, C., Arrouays, D., Balesdent, J., Bernoux, M., Bruni, E., Caliman, J-P., Cardinael, R., Chen, S., Ciais, P., Desbois, D., Fouche, J., Frank, S., Henault, C., Lugato, E., Naipal, V., Nesme, T., Obersteiner, M., Pellerin, S., Powlson, D. S., Rasse, D., Rees, F., Soussana, J-F., Su, Y., Tian, H., Valin, H. and Zhou, F.
Abstract

To respect the Paris agreement targeting a limitation of global warming below 2°C by 2100, and possibly below 1.5 °C, drastic reductions of greenhouse gas emissions are mandatory but not sufficient. Large-scale deployment of other climate mitigation strategies are also necessary. Among these, increasing soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks is an important lever because carbon in soils can be stored for long periods and land management options to achieve this already exist and have been widely tested. However, agricultural soils are also an important source of nitrous oxide, (N2O) a powerful greenhouse gas, and increasing SOC may influence N2O emissions, likely causing an increase in many cases, thus tending to offset the climate change benefit from increased SOC storage. Here, we review the main agricultural management options for increasing SOC stocks. We evaluate the amount of SOC that can be stored as well as resulting changes in N2O emissions to better estimate the climate benefits of these management options. We conclude that the climate mitigation induced by increased SOC storage is generally overestimated if associated N2O emissions are not considered, but is never fully offset. Some options (e.g, biochar or non-pyrogenic amendment application) may even decrease N2O emissions.

Year of Publication2020
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15342
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderNational Natural Science Foundation of China
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or code41671464
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online07 Sep 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted31 Aug 2020
PublisherSpringer Nature
Wiley
ISSN1354-1013

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