Organic Farming Can Help Reduce Carbon Emissions!

Featured Photo Credit: ©Science China Press

Chinese Study Finds That Organic Farming Can Transform A Farm From a Carbon Source To A Carbon Sink!

The EPA has determined that approximately 14% of global greenhouse gases come from agriculture.  Add more to that number for transportation of farming output.  That’s quite a statistic given that we all like to eat.

But what if the process were reversed.  What if greenhouse gases were absorbed by farming practices. In my mind, this would mean that we would only need to make a few more wholesale wide-frame changes to make this world habitable for future generations.

Scientists in China were able to do just this by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic compost. The Chinese Academy of Sciences reports that they’ve created a farm that stores more carbon in its soil than it emits.  They effectively created a Carbon Sink (something that absorbs more carbon than it emits). They also show that the crop yields didn’t suffer in their study.

Of course, more research is needed to determine how to duplicate the Carbon Sink feat noted in the study in areas that are not perfect conditions, such as super-dry, or super-wet areas, or areas with intense pest control problems.

Check out this study from China:

To mitigate GHG emissions and retain soil fertility, organic agriculture might be a wise choice for decreasing the intensive use of synthetic fertilizers, protecting environments, and further improving crop yields.

Recent research showed that replacing chemical fertilizer with organic manure significantly decreased the emission of GHGs. Organic farming can reverse the agriculture ecosystem from a carbon source to a carbon sink.

To explore the potential of farmlands acting as a carbon sink without yield losses, Jiang Gaoming, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Botany, conducted an experiment on a temperate eco-farm in eastern rural China. Crop residues were applied to cattle feed and the composted cattle manure was returned to cropland with a winter wheat and maize rotation.

Crop yield and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were carefully calculated according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories 2006.

This study showed that replacing chemical fertilizer with organic manure significantly decreased the emission of GHGs.

Yields of wheat and corn also increased as the soil fertility was improved by the application of cattle manure.  Totally replacing chemical fertilizer with organic manure decreased GHG emissions, which reversed the agriculture ecosystem from a carbon source (+ 2.7 t CO2-eq. hm-2 yr-1) to a carbon sink (- 8.8 t CO2-eq. hm-2 yr-1).

For more information on these results go here.  Please note that the full report is behind a paywall but the abstract contains all the needed information.

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