Soil Carbon


Collecting deep soil core samples on the KBS LTER

K.Stepnitz, Michigan State University

Soil organic matter, also called soil carbon, is very important to farmers because it contributes to good soil quality and crop productivity. It provides plants and soil organisms with the nutrients and food they need to grow. Soil organic matter also influences many soil physical properties such as drainage and structure which help create a good environment for crop roots and boost crop yields. Soil organic matter levels in crop fields are also linked to global climate change, an issue that extends far beyond the farm field and affects all humans. Agricultural lands have the potential to mitigate -- reduce the severity of -- global climate change by increasing soil organic matter levels. By increasing soil organic matter, carbon is stored in the soil and kept out of the atmosphere. This is commonly referred to as soil carbon sequestration.


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