From Pasture and Cropland to Nut Orchards: Modelling the Dynamics of Carbon Sequestration by Agroforestry Systems in the Temperate Climate Zone

Erik Roest*, Angelique Lansu, Ton Baltissen, Stefan C. Dekker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic

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Abstract

Planting trees is suggested as a cheap measure to capture CO2, but might conflict with agricultural land use. Changing pasture and cropland into agroforestry systems like nut orchards might
increase carbon (C) sequestration, without encroaching on agricultural land use. C-sequestration can act as a climate engineering measure to mitigate increasing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. The general discourse is that agroforestry systems can sequester more carbon than cropland or pastures. Data on the impact of land use change from agriculture to agroforestry systems like nut orchards in the temperate climate zone are scarce. In this study we analysed C-sequestration dynamics in above and below soil stocks and fluxes, from the perspective of global climate mitigation. Field measurements and lab results on
chronosequences from pasture and cropland to stands of Corylus and Juglans trees have been combined with modelling future pathways at the level of parcels. The object of study was a
temperate nut orchard located on sandy soils in the Netherlands (Province Gelderland). Data on C stocks and fluxes have been collected in four methods: (1) field sampling analysed in a
laboratory, (2) field survey, (3) collecting historic agricultural management data by interviewing and document analysis, and (4) analysing data by literature review. Focus was on C-stock data analysis and additional analysis of the C-budget change over years (chronosequence). Results show different patterns (all data related to sequestration in reference plots):
C-sequestration in soil organic carbon (based on field samples, 0-60cm depth) ranges from -0.1 to
2.2 Mg C ha-1yr-1.
C-sequestration in Corylus trees (based on field data and allometric equations) ranges from 0.5 to
1.2 Mg C ha-1yr-1.
C-sequestration in Juglans trees (based on field data and allometric equations) ranges from 0.3 to
0.7 Mg C ha-1yr-1.
C-sequestration in below ground biomass (based on allometric equations) ranges from 0.06 to 0.4 Mg C ha-1yr-1.
The parameterized allometric equations show a large increase in C-sequestration, ranging from 0.9 to 3.5 Mg ha-1yr-1. Compared to grassland and cropland estimates this is 10 times higher,
meaning a potential useful contribution to the mitigation of CO2 emissions. Further we observed an increase in quality of soil organic carbon, due to a shift to higher C/OM and C/N levels, lower annual OM breakdown and larger amounts of observed earthworms.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - May 2020
EventEuropean Geosciences Union General Assembly 2020 - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 3 May 20208 May 2020
https://www.egu2020.eu/

Conference

ConferenceEuropean Geosciences Union General Assembly 2020
Abbreviated titleEGU 2020
Country/TerritoryAustria
CityVienna
Period3/05/208/05/20
Internet address

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