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Geophysical Monograph Series

 

Keywords

  • Carbon sequestration
  • Carbon cycle (Biogeochemistry)

Index Terms

  • 1630 Global Change: Impacts of global change
  • 1865 Hydrology: Soils

Article

GEOPHYSICAL MONOGRAPH SERIES, VOL. 183, PP. 73-88, 2009

Terrestrial biological carbon sequestration: Science for enhancement and implementation

Wilfred M. Post

Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA


James E. Amonette

Chemical and Material Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA


Richard Birdsey

Northern Global Change Research Program, U.S. Forest Service, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, USA


Charles T. Garten Jr.

Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA


R. Cesar Izaurralde

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory-Joint Global Change Research Institute, College Park, Maryland, USA


Philip M. Jardine

Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA


Julie Jastrow

Environmental Research Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois, USA


Rattan Lal

School of Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA


Gregg Marland


Bruce A. McCarl

Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University,College Station, Texas, USA


Allison M. Thomson

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory-Joint Global Change Research Institute, College Park, Maryland, USA


Tristram O. West

Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA


Stan D. Wullschleger

Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA


F. Blaine Metting

Chemical and Material Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA


The purpose of this chapter is to review terrestrial biological carbon sequestration and evaluate the potential carbon storage capacity if present and new techniques are more aggressively utilized. Photosynthetic CO2 capture from the atmosphere and storage of the C in aboveground and belowground biomass and in soil organic and inorganic forms can be exploited for safe and affordable greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation [Watson et al., 2000]. Nevertheless, C sequestration in the terrestrial biosphere has not been seriously pursued since its introduction in the Kyoto Protocol over a decade ago. Concerns have been raised that C sequestration in the biosphere is finite and not permanent, that it is difficult to measure and monitor, that there would be “carbon leakage” outside of the mitigation activity, and that any attention paid to environmental sequestration would be a distraction from the central issue of reducing GHG emissions from energy production and use. International accord and success in reducing emissions from the energy system are not coming easily, and concerns about climate change are growing. It is time to reevaluate all available options that might not be permanent yet have the potential to buy time, bridging to a future when new energy system technologies and a transformed energy infrastructure can fully address the climate challenge. Terrestrial sequestration is one option large enough to make a contribution in the coming decades using proven land management methods and with the possibility that new technologies could significantly enhance the opportunity.

Citation: Post, W. M. et al. (2009), Terrestrial biological carbon sequestration: Science for enhancement and implementation, in Carbon Sequestration and Its Role in the Global Carbon Cycle, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 183, edited by B. J. McPherson and E. T. Sundquist, pp. 73–88, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/2008GM000753.

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