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Management opportunities for enhancing terrestrial carbon dioxide sinks

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The potential for mitigating increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations through the use of terrestrial biological carbon (C) sequestration is substantial. Here, we estimate the amount of C being sequestered by natural processes at global, North American, and national US scales. We present and quantify, where possible, the potential for deliberate human actions – through forestry, agriculture, and use of biomass-based fuels – to augment these natural sinks. Carbon sequestration may potentially be achieved through some of these activities but at the expense of substantial changes in land-use management. Some practices (eg reduced tillage, improved silviculture, woody bioenergy crops) are already being implemented because of their economic benefits and associated ecosystem services. Given their cumulative greenhouse-gas impacts, other strategies (eg the use of biochar and cellulosic bioenergy crops) require further evaluation to determine whether widespread implementation is warranted.
Wilfred M. Post , R. Cesar Izaurralde , Tristram O. West , Mark A. Liebig , Anthony W. King
USDA Scientist Submission
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2012 v.10 no.10
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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