A new report by Rutgers University-New Brunswick researchers and the University of Maine shows that agroforestry, cover cropping and grazing management can help increase the amount of carbon in soils, which can help combat climate change.
The study, “Ecosystem Services Valuation Approaches & Carbon Mitigation Considerations to Garden State Agriculture,” examines how New Jersey’s soils & plants can absorb and store greenhouse gas emissions.
Nearly 8 percent can be offset by New Jersey’s greenhouse gas emissions through New Jersey’s forests, farms, and wetlands. New Jersey’s Global Warming Response Act 80 X 50 Report reveals that these lands are essential if New Jersey wants to reach its 2050 emission reduction goal.
Marjorie Kaplan from Rutgers, codirector of the New Jersey Climate Change Resource Center, said that “our study focused on understanding what the current state of knowledge is regarding the storage carbon in agricultural soils. It also identified the types of programs and barriers that could further carbon sequestration.
Stephanie Murphy, coauthor of the study, and director of Rutgers Soil Testing Lab stated, “It has been well documented that soil carbon has been losing over many decades because of certain farming practices. These practices affect soil health, sustainability, and soil health. Modifying these practices can address some aspects of the deficit, while also using the land to be a carbon sink.”
The report discusses considerations for increasing soil carbon sequestration using agronomic techniques. It also provides a scan and lessons from other states and programs which could be applicable to agriculture in New Jersey.
“Although there is much scientific debate in the research field about the amount of carbon that can store in soil and how to monitor and quantify that, there are many benefits to agricultural techniques like cover cropping and improved grazing management that can also raise soil carbon,” stated Wendie Chock, director of research at New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.
The researchers interviewed more 50 experts in ecosystem value programs for natural and work lands from over 30 governmental, academic, private, and nongovernmental organizations. Although carbon sequestration is not the primary driver of many programs, it is a cobenefit that is included in multiple ecosystem services, such as soil health, climate resilience, flood mitigation, and improved water quality.
“These ecosystem services can have important co-benefits, including improved public health and enhanced biodiversityand the creation of jobs,” said Margaret Brennan from the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station’s director for resources.
Mark Robson, co-author and Distinguished Prof of Plant Biology, stated that New Jersey’s farm real estate value is on average $14,400/acre. This compares to Rhode Island’s average $16,400/acre.
He said that New Jersey’s strong farmland preservation program has prevented the development of more than 241,000 acres of farmland. “These preserved farms, and other working farmland, offer an important opportunity to mitigate.” climate changeKeep agriculture viable in New Jersey.”
Brian Schilling (director of Cooperative Extension at the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station) stated, “Agriculture can certainly be part of climate change solution in New Jersey. This report sets the table for how farmers can think about the pressure points, so we can move forward with programs that are a win for both the climate and the producer.”
The study is also available in PDF format at njclimateresourcecenter.rutger … igation-Dec-2021.pdf
New study uncovers new carbon mitigation options to combat climate change (2021/12/7).
Retrieved 7 December 2021
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