Compost can reduce carbon emissions

February 25th, 2008 - 12:47 pm ICT by admin  


London, Feb 25 (IANS) Organic fertilisers applied to farmland could trap carbon stored in the soil and cut down on greenhouse emissions. Carbon sequestration in soil has been recognised as a means to mitigate emissions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the European Commission.

Twenty percent of farmlands in Eurpoean Union could target about 8.6 percent of its total emissions for reduction, said a research paper published in the journal Waste Management and Research.

“An increase of just 0.15 percent in organic carbon in arable soils in a place like Italy would effectively imply sequestration of the same quantity of carbon within soil,” write Enzo Favoino and Dominic Hogg, authors of the paper.

“Increasing organic matter may cause other greenhouse gas-saving effects, such as better water retention, less production and use of mineral fertilisers and pesticides, and reduced release of nitrous oxide.”

However, cashing in on this potential climate-change mitigation measure is not a simple task.

Industrial farming techniques mean agriculture is actually depleting carbon from soil, thus reducing its capacity to act as a carbon sink.

Composting can contribute in a positive way to the twin objectives of restoring soil quality and sequestering carbon in soils, said Hogg and Favoino.

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