Enhancing crop productivity for recarbonizing soil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Plants capture atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) for carbon (C) assimilation through photosynthesis, with the photosynthates stored as plant biomass (above- and below-ground plant parts). The C stored as living biomass is a short-term C sequestration strategy, whereas soil organic carbon (SOC) is a long-term C sequestration strategy. In this regard, plant roots are the primary route of C entry into the SOC pool. Through establishing a recalcitrant SOC pool, long-term sequestration can potentially offset the C losses caused by soil degradation in industrial and pre-industrial eras. Over the next 50–100 years, implementing effective agricultural practices could sequester 80–130 GT (109) C as SOC. Carbon, as the primary elemental component of soil organic matter, plays a significant role in shaping the soil's physical, chemical, and biological properties, ultimately influencing soil biomass productivity. By enhancing crop productivity and biomass production, farmers can increase C sequestration, creating a positive feedback loop that contributes to overall C sequestration. Carbon sequestration has numerous co-benefits, including climate change mitigation, ecosystem health, food security, and farm profitability. Adopting conservation agriculture and site-specific practices and developing crop and pasture genotypes with high yields and C sequestration potential should significantly improve crop productivity and C sequestration simultaneously. This opinion article delves into the nexus between photosynthesis and soil C sequestration, highlighting its significance in enhancing farm productivity while mitigating climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105863
JournalSoil and Tillage Research
Volume235
Early online date30 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

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