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CO2 certificates for carbon sequestration in soils: methods, management practices and limitations

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Abstract

Agricultural soils have a great potential for carbon (C) sequestration due to the build-up of soil organic matter (SOM), which consists of about 58% C. Positive efforts in SOM management could therefore make a significant contribution to climate protection. For farmers, CO2 certificates for the build-up of soil organic carbon (SOC) represent an additional incentive to implement SOM-enhancing management measures. These CO2 certificates are issued by private initiatives and companies in the voluntary CO2 market. Especially in the field of agriculture, certificate trading for sequestered C in agricultural soils is currently growing in the German-speaking countries. In order to contribute to climate protection, certain criteria must be met when issuing certificates. In practice, however, minimum scientific standards have so far been given little consideration. In this study, recommendations are given regarding the quantifcation of SOC (sampling, analytics, SOC stock calculation), an evaluation of agricultural practices for C sequestration, as well as information on general limitations regarding climate protection via CO2 certificates. Generally, CO2-certificates can give a positive impulse for farmers to deal with sustainable cultivation and SOM supply of their soils. Since SOM is a key property for many soil functions and not least soil fertility, every effort to increase SOM is important. Farmers who are interested in building up SOC should therefore receive comprehensive support and advice on site-specific and farm-specific options for the sequestration of C in their soils.

Authors
Martin Wiesmeier Technical University of Munich
Stefanie Mayer Technical University of Munich
Carsten Paul Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)
Katharina Helming Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)
Axel Don Thünen Institute
Uwe Franko Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
Markus Steffens Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau (FiBL)
Ingrid Kögel-Knabner Technical University of Munich
Date of publication 2020-10-22
DOI 10.20387/bonares-ne0g-ce98
Language English
License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Please cite as:

Wiesmeier, M., Mayer, S., Paul, C., Helming, K., Don, A., Franko, U., Steffens, M., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2020). CO2 certificates for carbon sequestration in soils: methods, management practices and limitations. BonaRes Series. DOI: 10.20387/bonares-ne0g-ce98

Wiesmeier, M., Mayer, S., Paul, C., Helming, K., Don, A., Franko, U., Steffens, M., Kögel-Knabner, I. (2020). CO2 certificates for carbon sequestration in soils: methods, management practices and limitations. BonaRes Series. https://doi.org/10.20387/bonares-ne0g-ce98

Wiesmeier, Martin, et al. "CO2 certificates for carbon sequestration in soils: methods, management practices and limitations." BonaRes Series, Oct 2020, doi:10.20387/bonares-ne0g-ce98

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