It is possible, as part of carbon farming, that breeding crops with deeper roots could stop CO2 increase ‘stone dead’ says the Carbon Coalition Against Global Warming.
Carbon Farming is farming in a way that reduces Greenhouse Gas emissions by capturing and holding carbon in vegetation and soils. It is managing land, water, plants and animals to meet the triple challenge of
The Carbon Coalition reports British scientist Professor Douglas Kell’s calculations showing that breeding crops with deeper roots can draw down enough CO2 to stop the increase in Global Warming.
Douglas says carbon dioxide levels in the air have risen 40 percent to 390 parts per million (ppm) since the start of the Industrial Revolution and are growing about 2 ppm a year.
“If you add an extra 2 ppm a year and you can effectively trap that by increasing the amount of roots by an equivalent amount, you can stop the increase stone dead. To take about 100 ppm from the atmosphere is highly feasible and that equates to an extra 100 tonnes per hectare on average for two year…
Doubling root biomass to a nominal two meters is really the key issue, together with the longevity of the carbon they secrete and sequester below-ground,” says Professor Kell of the University of Manchester.”
Previous studies have doubted the benefits of deep roots locking away large amounts of carbon. But this was because the studies did not take soil measurements much below a metre.
“What matters is not so much what is happening now as what might be achieved with suitable breeding of plants with deep and reasonably long-lived roots. Many such plants exist, but have not been bred for agriculture.”
Calculations show that even a 2 percent increase in soil carbon down to 2 metres could lead to an extra 100 tonnes of carbon per hectare if that carbon stays in the soil for at least two years.
A PWF reader has sent us this link describing how American farmers are dealing with 21st century challenges. One young New Hampshire farmer is growing 100 per cent of his farm’s energy needs on 10 per cent of his land.
Seems there’s a lot happening that non-farmers don’t hear about??