The central USA contains some of the most productive agricultural land of the world. Due to the high proportion of land area committed to crops and pasture in this region, the carbon (C) stored and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission due to agriculture represent a large percentage of the total for the USA. Our objective was to summarize potential soil organic C (SOC) sequestration and GHG emission from this region and identify how tillage and cropping system interact to modify these processes. Conservation tillage (CST), including no-tillage (NT), has become more widespread in the region abating erosion and loss of organic rich topsoil and sequestering SOC. The rate of SOC storage in NT compared to conventional tillage (CT) has been significant, but variable, averaging 0.40 ± 0.61 Mg C ha-1 year-1 (44 treatment pairs). Conversion of previous cropland to grass with the conservation reserve program increased SOC sequestration by 0.56 ± 0.60 Mg C ha -1 year-1 (five treatment pairs). The relatively few data on GHG emission from cropland and managed grazing land in the central USA suggests a need for more research to better understand the interactions of tillage, cropping system and fertilization on SOC sequestration and GHG emission.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Soil Science
- Earth-Surface Processes