Proximal sensing for soil carbon accounting

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Date: May 15, 2018
From: Soil(Vol. 4, Issue 2)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Author abstract; Brief article; Report
Length: 301 words

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Abstract :

Maintaining or increasing soil organic carbon (C) is vital for securing food production and for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, climate change, and land degradation. Some land management practices in cropping, grazing, horticultural, and mixed farming systems can be used to increase organic C in soil, but to assess their effectiveness, we need accurate and cost-efficient methods for measuring and monitoring the change. To determine the stock of organic C in soil, one requires measurements of soil organic C concentration, bulk density, and gravel content, but using conventional laboratory-based analytical methods is expensive. Our aim here is to review the current state of proximal sensing for the development of new soil C accounting methods for emissions reporting and in emissions reduction schemes. We evaluated sensing techniques in terms of their rapidity, cost, accuracy, safety, readiness, and their state of development. The most suitable method for measuring soil organic C concentrations appears to be visible-near-infrared (vis-NIR) spectroscopy and, for bulk density, active gamma-ray attenuation. Sensors for measuring gravel have not been developed, but an interim solution with rapid wet sieving and automated measurement appears useful. Field-deployable, multi-sensor systems are needed for cost-efficient soil C accounting. Proximal sensing can be used for soil organic C accounting, but the methods need to be standardized and procedural guidelines need to be developed to ensure proficient measurement and accurate reporting and verification. These are particularly important if the schemes use financial incentives for landholders to adopt management practices to sequester soil organic C. We list and discuss requirements for developing new soil C accounting methods based on proximal sensing, including requirements for recording, verification, and auditing.

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A538803958