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Blue Carbon: The Climate Change Solution You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

This is the eighth part of Carbon Cache, an ongoing series about nature-based climate solutions.

Gail Chmura, a professor at McGill University, had recently joined the school’s geography department in the late 1990s when some of her colleagues were trying to solve a mystery. They were looking at global carbon budgets, and the numbers weren’t adding up. There was a missing carbon sink, sequestering a whole lot of carbon, and nobody knew what it was. They wondered if Canada’s peatlands were part of the missing sink.

Meanwhile, Chmura was sampling salt marshes in the Bay of Fundy, which spans between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Few people had paid salt marshes any attention as carbon sinks because the data showed pretty low levels of carbon at a first glance. But Chmura had a lightbulb moment.

Researchers had been looking at the percentage of carbon in salt marshes by weight. In peatlands, this makes sense because they are almost entirely made of organic matter, which is where carbon is stored in soil.

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La edad del suelo influye mucho menos en un ecosistema que los cambios ambientales

En un comunicado, este organismo científico ha señalado que en este estudio han participado investigadores del Grupo de Enzimología y Biorremediación de Suelos y Aguas del Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura (CEBAS-CSIC).

Además, la investigación sugiere que este contexto ecológico controla los procesos de fertilidad, acumulación de carbono y producción de plantas a lo largo de millones de años.

Fertilidad del suelo

Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo, coordinador del estudio y director del laboratorio de Biodiversidad y Funcionamiento Ecosistémicos de la Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Sevilla), ha explicado que las zonas áridas siempre tendrán suelos menos fértiles, menor contenido de carbono y menor capacidad para producir alimento que ecosistemas templados o tropicales, independientemente de la edad de los ecosistemas.

De igual manera, los ecosistemas que se forman en suelos arenosos siempre serán menos fértiles que los ecosistemas que se desarrollan sobre suelos volcánicos, independientemente de su edad, ha añadido Delgado-Baquerizo.

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Cover Crop Roots Are An Essential Key To Understanding Ecosystem Services

To judge the overall effectiveness of cover crops and choose those offering the most ecosystem services, agricultural scientists must consider the plants’ roots as well as above-ground biomass, according to Penn State researchers who tested the characteristics of cover crop roots in three monocultures and one mixture.

“Almost everything that we know about the growth of cover crops is from measuring the above-ground parts and yet some of the benefits that we want to get from cover crops come from the roots,” said researcher Jason Kaye, professor of soil biogeochemistry. “This study shows us that what we see above ground is sometimes — but not always — reflective of the benefits below ground.”

Cover crops are widely used to increase the quantity of organic carbon returned to the soil between cash crops such as corn, wheat and soybean, as well as to limit erosion and to fix or add nitrogen to the soil.

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¿Cuál es la relación entre el coronavirus y el manejo de los ecosistemas?

La virtual paralización del mundo por la pandemia del coronavirus muestra mejores índices de calidad de aire, el regreso de algunas especies a aguas tan contaminadas como las del Riachuelo y pronostica una reducción de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero en el corto plazo. Sin embargo, creer que el ambiente mejora por la presencia de un virus que no puede detenerse es incorrecto. Hay que interpretarlo como la resiliencia de un planeta que ya soportó cinco extinciones masivas y siguió en pie.

Así se comporta la naturaleza de la que dependemos y, según los expertos, lo que hay que pensar para el día que se supere esta coyuntura está íntimamente relacionado con el replanteo de la relación del hombre con la naturaleza.

“La especie amenazada somos nosotros. Lo curioso es que no nos damos cuenta. Si lo hiciéramos tendríamos la misma velocidad y capacidad de reacción que se tuvo para el coronavirus en Argentina.

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Sustainable Agroecosystems: Research to Assess the Benefits of Regenerative Grazing Principles

Carbon rich soil is healthy and beneficial for the entire ecosystem, based on previous and growing research. Ecosystem health is increased as soil carbon increases, resulting in improved water infiltration and retention; soil stability nutrient status, access and retention; diversity of fungi, microbes, plants, and insects; wildlife diversity, nutrition and habitat; livestock health and output; and farmer net profits, resilience and well-being. Healthy ecosystems with high levels of soil carbon and soil microbial biomass, diversity and function provide valuable ecosystem services (benefits humans gain from nature), which increase the sustainability of farming, enhance natural pest control, boost yields, and reduce costs, thereby increasing profitability.

However, many traditional agricultural practices damage the very ecosystems on which they rely to function optimally. Intensive farming methods, such as extensive soil ploughing, inorganic fertiliser and pesticide use, damage fragile ecosystems over time, reducing yields, and thus often prompting even more intensive farming. This ultimately leads to land that is damaged beyond repair and no longer suitable for grazing or cropping farming.

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