The dynamic soil organic carbon mitigation potential of European cropland

Frank S, Schmid E, Havlik P, Schneider U, Bottcher H, Balkovič J, & Obersteiner M (2015). The dynamic soil organic carbon mitigation potential of European cropland. Global Environmental Change 35: 269-278. DOI:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.08.004.

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Abstract

Changes in soil organic carbon stocks depend on the management regime and a variety of environmental actors including climatic conditions and soil properties. So far, the dynamics of soil organic carbon have not been explicitly represented in global economic land use optimization models. Here, we apply an approach to represent soil organic carbon dynamics explicitly in a global bottom-up recursive dynamic partial equilibrium model using carbon response functions simulated with a biophysical process-based model. We project soil organic carbon emissions from European cropland to decrease by 40% from 64 MtCO2 in 2010 to about 39 MtCO2 in 2050 mainly due to saturation effect when soils converge toward their equilibrium after management, crop rotation, or land use change. Moreover, we estimate a soil organic carbon mitigation potential for European cropland between 9 and 38 MtCO2 per year until 2050 for carbon prices between 10 and 100 USD/tCO2. The total European mitigaion potential including co-benefits from the crop and livestock sector due to the carbon price is even higher with 60 MtCO2 equivalents (eq) per year. Thus carbon sequestration in soils could compensate 7% of total emissions from agriculture within the EU, 10% when including co-benefits from the crop and livestock sector. However, as production is realocated outside Europe with increasing carbon prices, emissions decrease in Europe but increase in the rest of the world (20 MtCO2 eq). Preventing GHG emission leakage to the rest of the world would decrease the European soil organic carbon mitigation potential by around 9% and the total European mitigation potential including co-benefits by 16%. Nevertheless, the net global mitigation potential would still increase. We conclude that no significant contributions to emission reduction targets should be expected from the European cropland carbon sequestration options considered in this study.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: partial equilibrium; GHG emissions; land use modeling; conservation tillage; soil carbon; dynamics
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Bibliographic Reference: Global Environmental Change; 35:269-278 [November 2015] (Published online 30 September 2015)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:52
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2016 10:43
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/11371

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