Carbon sequestration opportunities in soils in Latin America and the Caribbean

The sequestration of carbon (C) in the organic matter of soils used in agriculture is a viable option for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increasing the climate change resilience of these systems.

Context of the story

"Carbon sequestration" is defined as the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere and its storage in ecological sinks, such as soil organic matter. In this case, carbon sequestration will be quantified as changes in the soil organic carbon (SOC) pool. That can occur in response to changes in land management, such as increased use of fertilization, irrigation, or in response to changes in land use, such as the conversion of crops to forest.

Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) soils could play a relevant role in SOC carbon sequestration since, depending on their management, pastures and agricultural soils have the potential to act as large SOC sinks.

Organic carbon is the principal indicator of the quality and productive potential of the soil and, at the same time, is the largest carbon pool in the biosphere.

The implemented initiative

The objective of this project is to contribute to the design of land use and management strategies with high potential for SOC sequestration in the agricultural production systems of LAC, and to generate capacities in LAC for the quantification and monitoring of the SOC stock.
The objectives are:
i) Assist LAC countries in the reporting and monitoring of their SOC stocks according to land use and management,
ii) identify an opportunity for SOC sequestration in five LAC countries, and quantify its impact on the net emission of greenhouse gases and the economy of commerical properties, and
iii) generate capacities in LAC for the quantification and monitoring of the SOC stock.

Identification, and evaluation of strategies to intensify agricultural production systems in LAC with the potential for mitigating and adapting to climate change.

The technological solution

Identify opportunities for carbon sequestration in soils of Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Colombia, in addition to quantifying the impact both on the net emission of greenhouse gases and on the economy of commercial properties. In this way, the project will contribute to the identification and evaluation of strategies to intensify agricultural production systems in LAC with the potential for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

The idea that agricultural soils could provide solutions to global problems such as climate change, food insecurity, and environmental pollution is a historic paradigm shift
Lal (2016)

Results

1. Generated references for the agencies in charge of reporting the national GHG inventories in each country and for those agencies involved in the generation of NDCs and NAMAs.

2. An opportunity identified for the sequestration of COS will be obtained, with potential for implementation as a NAMA evaluated in its potential economic and environmental impact, for the five LAC countries participating in the project.

3. Staff will be trained to update their SOC stock reports and stock changes with the necessary quality in the time required according to international agreements in the five countries participating in this project and reference material will be developed as part of the published component for subsequent consultations.

Training workshop
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Training workshop
Technicians trained in the process
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Technicians trained in the process
Carbon sequestration opportunity
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Carbon sequestration opportunity
 Data base
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Data base
sampling sites
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sampling sites
samples to analyze
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samples to analyze
Indirect beneficiaries
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Indirect beneficiaries

Progress of component activities, articulation of the multi-agency platform generated, selection of relevant land use and management for each country, obtained from the first workshop held.

Coordination and development of protocols

Participating Organizations

Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria (AGROSAVIA) - Colombia
Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA) - Uruguay
Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA) - Chile
Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Argentina
Instituto Nacional de Innovación y Transferencia en Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Costa Rica
MGAP - Uruguay
Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería y Pesca (MAGyP) - Argentina
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) - Nicaragua
Universidad Estatal de Ohio (OSU) (OSU - The Ohio State University) - Estados Unidos
Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA) - Uruguay
Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Argentina
Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA) - Chile
Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria (AGROSAVIA) - Colombia
Instituto Nacional de Innovación y Transferencia en Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Costa Rica
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Main donors

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Ministry for Primary Industries NZ
Global Research Alliance (GRA) - Nueva Zelanda
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E-mail: fontagro@fontagro.org