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Increasing the quantity of carbon stored in agricultural soils has the potential to offset emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, while soil carbon losses would further add to those emissions.
However, realising this mitigation potential is technically challenging when soil carbon stocks are already high (as they are in New Zealand), potential changes in soil carbon are small and spatial variability is high.
The current NZAGRC programme has three distinct components:
(1) testing specific management practices that may increase the long term soil carbon store in field situations;
(2) developing and using models to predict how a range of management practices may influence long and short tem soil carbon storage; and
(3) identifying those factors that influence the stability of current or newly added soil carbon.
Dr David Whitehead, Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research (2010-present)
Professor Frank Kelliher, AgResearch (2010-2017)
A modeling analysis of carbon and nitrogen (input, cycling and fate) in irrigated grassland in Canterbury showed reductions in soil carbon following irrigation, due to increasing nitrogen limitation. These two co-limiters of growth interact -...
A study has been completed into the potential of using mid-infrared spectroscopy/partial least squares regression (MIR/PLSR) analyses to provide accurate estimates of the content and composition of soil carbon. The MIR/PLSR measurements provided...
Converting a ryegrass/clover grassland to a sward with diverse species resulted in lower carbon losses than when regrassing with ryegrass/clover. Diverse swards also maintained the same level of dry matter production as the new ryegrass/clover...
Louis Schipper talks to Bryan Crump on RNZ Nights about soil carbon. He talks about soil organic matter, soil density, nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur), land use and the ways we can store more carbon in soil to reduce the amount of carbon...
Some clarification of the impacts of grassland intensification on food production, nitrogen release, greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration: using the example of New Zealand
Anthony J. Parsons, John H. M. Thornley, Susanne Rasmussen and Jacqueline S. Rowarth, 2016, Some clarification of the impacts of grassland intensification on food production, nitrogen release, greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration:...
S. Rutledge, A.M. Wall, P.L. Mudge, B. Troughton, D.I. Campbell, J. Pronger, C. Joshi, L.A. Schipper, The carbon balance of temperate grasslands part I: The impact of increased species diversity, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, Volume...
Schipper, L. A., P. L. Mudge, et al. (2017). "A review of soil carbon change in New Zealand’s grazed grasslands." New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 60(2): 93-118. AbstractSoil organic matter is a potential sink of atmospheric...
The carbon balance of temperate grasslands part II: The impact of pasture renewal via direct drilling
S. Rutledge, A.M. Wall, P.L. Mudge, B. Troughton, D.I. Campbell, J. Pronger, C. Joshi, L.A. Schipper, The carbon balance of temperate grasslands part II: The impact of pasture renewal via direct drilling, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment,...
This publication provides an overview of how we can map the amount of carbon stored in New Zealand soils.
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report into greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture highlights the need for a suite of mitigation solutions rather than a single silver bullet....
The trade-offs between milk production and soil organic carbon storage in dairy systems under different management and environmental factors
Kirschbaum, M. U. F., L. A. Schipper, et al. (2017). "The trade-offs between milk production and soil organic carbon storage in dairy systems under different management and environmental factors." Science of the Total Environment 577: 61-72....
Low spatial and inter-annual variability of evaporation from a year-round intensively grazed temperate pasture system
J. Pronger, D.I. Campbell, M.J. Clearwater, S. Rutledge, A.M. Wall, L.A. Schipper, Low spatial and inter-annual variability of evaporation from a year-round intensively grazed temperate pasture system, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment,...
Report: Potential applications of full inversion tillage to increase soil carbon storage during pasture renewal in New Zealand
This report reviews the potential to use full inversion tillage (FIT) during pasture renewal to increase the soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks of New Zealand’s High Producing Grasslands. December 2015 Download this...
Estimates of annual leaching losses of dissolved organic carbon from pastures on Allophanic Soils grazed by dairy cattle, Waikato, New Zealand
Sparling, G. P., E. J. Chibnall, et al. (2016). "Estimates of annual leaching losses of dissolved organic carbon from pastures on Allophanic Soils grazed by dairy cattle, Waikato, New Zealand." New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 59(1):...
There are two PhD studentships available that will contribute to a wider programme of research funded by the Global Partnership for Livestock Emission Research entitled: MANAGEMENT OPTIONS FOR INCREASING SOIL CARBON UNDER GRASSLANDS. The PhD...
Scientific knowledge is usually communicated through text, diagrams and graphs, but the Waikato Biogeochemistry and Ecohydrology Research group (WaiBER) offers an alternative means of communication - via the medium of cake. Once a paper...
This publication provides an overview of what soil carbon is, how we can measure and determine the changes over time and what New Zealand's current soil carbon levels are. this publication was produced in collaboration with the University of...
Frank's presentation covered the New Zealand work on soil carbon. He explained the concept that, like planting trees, increasing soil carbon stocks can “offset” greenhouse gas emissions and that if New Zealand could...
Assessment of the application of gibberellins to increase productivity and reduce nitrous oxide emissions in grazed grassland
Emissions of nitrous oxide from grassland systems are attributable largely to the use of nitrogen fertilisers and the excreta deposited by grazing animals. There is increasing interest in using gibberellins as a naturally-occurring growth...
S. Rutledge, P.L. Mudge, D.I. Campbell, S.L. Woodward, J.P. Goodrich, A.M. Wall, M.U.F. Kirschbaum, L.A. Schipper, Carbon balance of an intensively grazed temperate dairy pasture over four years, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, Volume...
Increasing the quantity and stability of carbon stored in agricultural soils has real potential to offset greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the atmosphere. However, realising this potential is not as straightforward as it might first appear....
Kelliher, F. M., Condron, L. M., Cook, F. J., & Black, A. (2012). Sixty years of seasonal irrigation affects carbon storage in soils beneath pasture grazed by sheep. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 148, 29-36 Abstract For sixty...