BIOLOGICAL SEQUESTRATION

BIOLOGICAL SEQUESTRATION

ForestBiological (or terrestrial) sequestration involves the net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere by plants and micro-organisms and its storage in vegetative biomass and in soils.

On this page, we deal with the main natural carbon dioxide sinks in Manitoba:

Soils
Grasslands
Forests
Peatlands
Click a link in the list above to jump to that topic on this page. Biological sequestration offers many potential advantages: (1)

-could sequester relatively large volumes of carbon at comparatively low cost
-protecting or improving soils, water resources, habitat, and biodiversity
-generate rural income
-promotes more sustainable agriculture and forestry practices

SOILS

Soils contain more carbon than is contained in vegetation and the atmosphere combined. (2) Agricultural carbon sequestration has the potential to substantially mitigate global warming impacts. At the same time, employing methods to enhance carbon sequestration in soil will increase soil quality. Carbon is stored within soil organic matter (SOM). SOM is a complex mixture of carbon compounds, consisting of decomposing plant and animal tissue, microbes (protozoa, nematodes, fungi, and bacteria), and carbon associated with soil minerals. (3) Methods that significantly enhance carbon sequestration in soil include

conservation tillage (low till / no-till farming) – minimizing or eliminating manipulation of the soil for crop production. This includes the practice of mulch tillage, which leaves crop residues on the soil surface. These procedures generally reduce soil erosion, improve water use efficiency, and increase carbon concentrations in the topsoil. Conservation tillage can also reduce the amount of fossil fuel consumed by farm operations

cover cropping – the use of crops such as clover and small grains for protection and soil improvement between periods of regular crop production. Cover crops improve carbon sequestration by enhancing soil structure, and adding organic matter to the soil.

crop rotation – planting different crops on a rotating pattern of years (e.g. corn-oats-clover) will reduce the loss of carbon from the soil and with some additions (e.g. manure-lime-phosphorous) will add carbon to soils (4)