Science Target Conference Systems, Ajman 4th International Environment Conference 2016

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Conservation agriculture enhances ecosystem services: putting carbon, nitrogen and microbes back in soil
Anthony Oyeogbe

Last modified: 2015-11-19

Abstract


There is a growing interest about conservation agriculture (CA) and the numerous ecosystem services it provides. However, it is so far a gap in knowledge to quantify the ecosystem services derived from CA farming systems viz., carbon sequestration, moisture retention and increased biodiversity in croplands. CA also renders ecosystem services to the larger society, inter alia, the avoidance of biomass burning via clean air, moderation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, thus contributing to environmental sustainability. We investigated CA based maize–wheat system to enhance carbon, nitrogen, microbial activity and the reduction of GHG emissions (N2O and CO2) by complementary soil test and plant sensor (GreenSeeker) approach for N management. Our ‘best optimised N rate’ (50% basal + 25% broadcast + rest N guided by GreenSeeker) resulted in 4, 3 and 6% higher soil carbon, nitrogen stocks, and microbial biomass activity, respectively, after two years of cropping. Our latest findings on decoupling N2O and CO2 emissions and the quantification of biomass input measured from the CA maize–wheat system will also be presented. The growing debate is for the payment for these ecosystem services and which percentage of the biomass yield has to be used for livestock feed, bioenergy, and that to retain on the surface soil to accumulate carbon, nutrient cycling and moisture retention and to increase biodiversity. These trade-offs is the major imbroglio to address