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What is soil carbon sequestration and how it helps mitigate climate change

What is soil carbon sequestration and how it helps mitigate climate change

What is soil carbon sequestration and how it helps mitigate climate change
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By CNBC-TV18 Jul 9, 2021 8:11:08 AM IST (Published)

Climate change is a looming threat, which has posed policy challenges across the world. Several key agreements such as the Paris Climate Deal have been signed to mitigate the effects of global warming across the globe.

Climate change is a looming threat, which has posed policy challenges across the world. Several key agreements such as the Paris Climate Deal have been signed to mitigate the effects of global warming across the globe. But, recent reports indicated that the world is not on track to meet the lofty goals that have been set in order to save the Earth from climatic disasters. 

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One avenue that is now beginning to get attention is — soil carbon sequestration. 
What is soil carbon sequestration? 
Soil carbon sequestration is the process of taking atmospheric carbon dioxide and store in the soil in other forms, mainly soil organic carbon (SOC). Soil carbon sequestration (SCS) is an important part of the terrestrial ecosystem. Plants, trees, and some other organisms naturally sequester carbon in the soil. These natural processes are already responsible for sequestering 80 percent of all terrestrial carbon into the soil. 
Why is soil carbon sequestration so important?
While many believe that planting more trees is an effective way of reducing the amount of atmospheric carbon, the reality is that such methods often take 100s of years before they can efficiently store carbon away from the atmosphere. 
On the other hand, SCS can lead to large quantities of carbon being stored in the soil relatively quickly. Additionally, SCS methods involve different agricultural practices that can be easily supplemented with existing cultivation practices. 
Cover cropping, crop rotation, and cover tillage all increase carbon sequestration in the soil. These cultivation methods are not only beneficial for the environment but also improve the underlying soil quality. 
Additional benefits of SCS
Soil carbon sequestration has additional benefits in the form of increasing soil fertility. Apart from that, with the advent of large-scale carbon trading, where companies can ‘buy’ reduced carbon emissions from other entities, farmers can easily earn through an additional source of income by increasing the level of carbon in the soil. 
Such pilot projects are already being introduced in countries like the US, Brazil, among others. 
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