Abstracts on Global Climate Change

Apr 2006

Carbon sequestration in two Brazilian Cerrado soils under no-till

Bayer, C Martin-Neto, L Mielniczuk, J Pavinato, A Dieckow, J


A considerable proportion of the 200 million hectares of the Brazilian Cerrado is suitable for annual crops but little is known about the effects of tillage on the C dynamics of Cerrado soils. We evaluated the role of two representative Cerrado Oxisols (350 and 650 g clay kg(-1)) as sources or sinks of atmospheric C when managed under three tillage systems (conventional tillage (CT), reduced tillage (RT), and no-till (NT)) in 8- and 5-year long-term experiments. A literature review was also carried out and the mean C sequestration rates in no-till soils of tropical and subtropical regions of Brazil were calculated and compared with values for soils from temperate regions of the world. The original C stocks in 0-20 cm layer of soils under native Cerrado were higher in the clayey (54.0 Mg ha(-1)) than in the sandy clay loam soil (35.4 Mg ha(-1)), suggesting a higher physical stability of organic matter associated with variable clay minerals in the clayey Oxisol. The original C stocks of the native Cerrado soils appear not to have decreased after 23 years of conventional tillage in the sandy clay loam Oxisol, except when the soil had been subjected to erosion (15% loss of C), or after 25 years in the clayey Oxisol. Compared to conventionally tilled soil, the C stocks in no-till sandy clay loam Oxisol increased by 2.4 Mg ha(-1) (C sequestration rate = 0.30 Mg ha(-1) year(-1)) and in the clayey Oxisol by 3.0 Mg ha(-1) (C sequestration rate = 0.60 Mg ha(-1) year(-1)). The mean rate of C sequestration in the no-till Brazilian tropical soils was estimated to be 0.35 Mg ha(-1) year(-1), similar to the 0.34 Mg ha(-1) year(-1) reported for soils from temperate regions but lower than the 0.48 Mg ha(-1) year(-1) estimated for southern Brazilian subtropical soils. Considering the large area (about 70 million hectares) of the Cerrado which is currently used and potentially available for cropland, the adoption of no-till systems could turn the Cerrado soils into a significant sink for atmospheric C and contribute to the mitigation of global climate change. (C) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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