Will soils hang on to their Carbon?

(Update, 2019-07-01)
Another obstacle to afforestation as a means of rapidly drawing down CO2 from the climate system:

U.Büntgen, P.J.Krusic, A.Piermattei, D.A.Coomes, J.Esper, V.S.Myglan, A.V.Kirdyanov, J.J.Camarero, A.Crivellaro, C.Körne, “Limited capacity of tree growth to mitigate the global greenhouse effect under predicted warming“, Nature Communications, 2019, 10, Article number: 2171.

This is essentially no analysis, simply an index to recent research on the the matter of the soils reservoir for Carbon, and a little reaction.

To begin, here’s the part of the Carbon Cycle that’s involved:

Should this production increase, particularly if CO2 uptake of terrestrial plants wane, the 45% sink we’ve fortunately lived with could lessen, making our situation worse.

Here are some papers, including reports of large scale experiments. I follow with some thoughts and questions.

I am particularly intrigued with Metcalfe, and van Groenigen, Osenberg, Luo, and Hungate. Recent studies examining options to rebalance the Carbon Cycle by means such as enhanced weathering and afforestation by planting large numbers of plants like Jatropha curcas (see more) have revealed the resulting albedo change and moisture capture can change the climate of entire regions. If microbial communities reorganize in a big way, whether in temperate forests, in deserts, or in tundra, could they by themselves achieve change of regional climate? Could they be bioengineered? Do we understand that ecosystem well enough to predict how it would develop? Are there nonlinear surprises lurking there?

About ecoquant

See https://wordpress.com/view/667-per-cm.net/ Retired data scientist and statistician. Now working projects in quantitative ecology and, specifically, phenology of Bryophyta and technical methods for their study.
This entry was posted in adaptation, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Anthropocene, argoecology, bacteria, being carbon dioxide, Carbon Cycle, carbon dioxide, Carl Safina, climate, climate change, climate disruption, Global Carbon Project, global warming, microbiomes, nonlinear, nonlinear systems. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Will soils hang on to their Carbon?

  1. Pingback: From the Promise Forward Department | Hypergeometric

  2. Pingback: “… [A] new scientific paper overstates forests’ potential” (Reynolds) | Hypergeometric

  3. Jim Stuttard says:

    Baccini et al.’s paper has [annoyingly] misleading title despite the “net” qualifier. The ratio of emissions to sequestration of 862/437 is certainly bad news but would be much worse if it was the tropical forest with the net imbalance; the imbalance in forest areas is almost entirely due to land use change ie. deforestation and resulting degradation of soil. I didn’t know nteresting that Jatropha produces 4 times the biomass of soy and grows in temps from 10C-50C and 30cm-1m flooding as well as saline conditions (salinity and drought resistance being 2 of my current lit. review topics). The economics look good at $1 per tree, 2,500 per hectare can sequester nearly 20 tonnes C pa. after 4 years growth. I make that a min. one-off cost for sequestration of $125 per tonne of C on otherwise unusable poor soils if fertilised ie. $42 per tonne CO2 if my arithmetic’s right.

    (Slight edit by moderator to fix typo.)

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