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Deriving grassland management factors for a carbon accounting method developed by the intergovernmental panel on climate change

By SM Ogle, RT Conant and K Paustian


Grassland management affects soil organic carbon (SOC) storage and can be used to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. However, for a country to assess emission reductions due to grassland management, there must be an inventory method for estimating the change in SOC storage. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has developed a simple carbon accounting approach for this purpose, and here we derive new grassland management factors that represent the effect of changing management on carbon storage for this method. Our literature search identified 49 studies dealing with effects of management practices that either degraded or improved conditions relative to nominally managed grasslands. On average, degradation reduced SOC storage to 95% +/- 0.06 and 97% +/- 0.05 of carbon stored under nominal conditions in temperate and tropical regions, respectively. In contrast, improving grasslands with a single management activity enhanced SOC storage by 14% 0.06 and 17% +/- 0.05 in temperate and tropical regions, respectively, and with an additional improvement(s), storage increased by another 11% +/- 0.04. We applied the newly derived factor coefficients to analyze C sequestration potential for managed grasslands in the U.S., and found that over a 20-year period changing management could sequester from 5 to 142 Tg C yr(-1) or 0.1 to 0.9 Mg C ha(-1) yr(-1), depending on the level of change. This analysis provides revised factor coefficients for the IPCC method that can be used to estimate impacts of management; it also provides a methodological framework for countries to derive factor coefficients specific to conditions in their region

Publisher: Springer Verlag
Year: 2004
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s00267-003-9105-6
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