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Home>Major Activities>Seminars and Workshops in 2010>Evaluation and Sustainable Management of Soil Carbon Sequestration in Asian Countries



Date
September 27 - October 02
Venue
Indonesia
Co-sponsors
Indonesian Soil Research Institute (ISRI)
National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences (NIAES), Japan
Background / Highlights of Activity

Currently, the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is about 380 parts per million (ppm), and is increasing roughly by 2 ppm annually. In 35 years, if the atmospheric CO2 keeps on increasing at the current rate, it will reach a threshold of 450 ppm CO2, at which scientists believe an "œirreversible catastrophe" will occur.

The soil C pool is 3.3 times the size of the atmospheric pool and 4.5 times the size of the biotic pool. The SOC pool to 1-m depth ranges from 30 tons/ha in arid climates to 800 tons/ha in organic soils in cold regions, and a predominant range of 50 to 150 tons/ha. The SOC pool represents a dynamic equilibrium of gains and losses of C. Conversion of natural to agricultural ecosystems causes depletion of the SOC pool by as much as 60% in soils of temperate regions and 75% or more in cultivated soils of the tropics. Peat lands, for instance, are estimated to contain 20 to 30% of the global soil carbon pool. In other words, they are regarded as a net global carbon sink for atmospheric CO2. Peat lands can sequester atmospheric carbon and store it for thousands of years as peat soils.

Tropical deforestation and land use change have a significant impact on the global carbon cycle through increased rates of carbon emissions to the atmosphere and the loss of above- and below-ground carbon accumulation and storage capacity. Deforestation and land conversion can result in an initial loss of carbon from soils because of increased decomposition rates, erosion, reduced inputs, and so forth. Therefore, one of the promising strategies to mitigate atmospheric CO2 emissions is to reforest and restore abandoned tropical forests. The rate of soil organic carbon sequestration with adoption of recommended technologies depends on soil characteristics, rainfall, temperature, farming system, and soil management.

In 2008, NIAES and FFTC organized the first international seminar on Soil Information System (SIS) for Asian countries held in Tsukuba, Japan, in order to understand the current status of soil database and their application in individual Asian countries, as well as to formulate an appropriate regional SIS scheme for users in the ASPAC region. During the final discussion of the seminar, participants agreed to establish an Ad-Hoc Committee to sustain the gains and outputs from the SIS seminar. This proposed workshop is one of the follow-up activities of the said 2008 seminar, aimed primarily on the evaluation and management of soil carbon sequestration using the SIS system.

The carbon stored in a variety of soils widely distributed in the Asian region is first estimated by countries, and then the estimation will be extended to the entire region. Sustainable soil management practices affecting the soil carbon pools are also evaluated to minimize the carbon emissions from soils to atmosphere, and also to maximize the sequestration of atmospheric CO2. The data obtained will be stored in the formatted files common to all the participating countries for the Asian Regional SIS project and further to be utilized for the development of promising soil management technologies on soil carbon sequestration.

Objectives:

  1. To review the current status of soil carbon as sinks of atmospheric CO2 in the ASPAC region;
  2. To exchange relevant information on appropriate estimation and uncertainty analysis of soil carbon pool in the region;
  3. To share soil management practices and technical strategies relevant for minimizing soil carbon emissions and maximizing carbon sequestration; and
  4. To discuss appropriate use of a regional SIS for sustainable crop production under minimum soil carbon emissions in the ASPAC region.