Soil Carbon Sequestration


    In News

    • Recently the International Crops Research Institute for The Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has published a modelling study.

    More about the news

    • About the study:
      • The study revealed how the right combination of fertilizer, biochar, and irrigation could potentially increase soil carbon by as much as 300 percent and help mitigate climate change
        • The modelling study found that biochar increased carbon value in the soil by 130-300 percent over 30 years with little difference in yield. 
        • It also found that the optimal use of fertilizers increased the carbon and output by up to 30 percent.
    • Regions under the study:
      • The modelling study was conducted in five districts of Maharashtra (Jalna, Dhule, Ahmednagar, Amravati, and Yavatmal) and eight districts of Odisha (Angul, Bolangir, Deogarh, Dhenkenal, Kalahandi, Kendujhar, Nuapada, and Sundegarh).
        • They have a predominantly semi-arid climate with annual rainfall between 600 millimetres and 1,100 mm. 
    • Crops under the study:
      • Important crops such as cotton, sorghum, soybean, chickpea, pigeon pea and millet were studied in the region. 
    • Study of traditional & modern practices:
      • In addition, soil sampling and analysis of long-term experiments on improved versus traditional farmer practices and tillage and residue management practices were also conducted. 
      • The researchers also evaluated improved management practices such as biochar, need-based fertiliser, and irrigation.


    • Contribution of agriculture in the fight against climate crisis:
      • Food systems account for nearly one-third of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 
        • In 2015, food-system emissions amounted to 18 Gt CO2 equivalent per year globally, representing 34 percent of total GHG emissions.
      • An agriculture modelling study can help bolster the fight against climate crisis by helping capture atmospheric carbon dioxide and storing it in soil.
      • So, Agriculture is said to be one of the major factors affecting climate change. However, it can also be a part of the solution. 
    • Contribution of sample study:
      • This soil carbon sequestration over 30 years in the sample 13 districts of Maharashtra & Odisha may significantly contribute to combating global climate change.
    • Income to farmers:
      • Carbon sequestering can provide an additional source of income for the farmers.
    • Aligned with SDGs:
      • The study is aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 13 (SDG 13: Climate Action) which is on taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
    • Model for the policymakers:
      • The study may help policymakers, government, and civil society to implement strategies that incentivise farmers to manage their soils in ways to sequester more carbon.

    Basic terms

    • Soil carbon 
      • It is critical for crop yield and climate adaptation or mitigation measures, which are heavily reduced by both intensive agriculture and indiscriminate use of chemicals leading to increased carbon emissions.
    • Biochar 
      • It is a charcoal-like substance that burns organic material (biomass) from agricultural and forestry wastes in a controlled process called pyrolysis. 
      • Although it looks much like ordinary charcoal, biochar has safely reduced contamination and stored carbon. 
    • Carbon sequestration 
      • About:
        • It is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. 
        • It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change.
      • Natural process:
        • Carbon dioxide (CO2) is naturally captured from the atmosphere through biological, chemical, and physical processes. 
          • These changes can be accelerated through changes in land use and agricultural practices, such as converting crop land into land for non-crop fast growing plants. 
      • Artificial processes:
        • Artificial processes have been devised to produce similar effects, including large-scale, artificial capture and sequestration of industrially produced CO2 using subsurface saline aquifers, reservoirs, ocean water, aging oil fields, or other carbon sinks, bio-energy with carbon capture and storage, biochar, enhanced weathering, direct air capture and water capture when combined with storage. 
    • Biosequestration: 
      • It is the capture and storage of the atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by continual or enhanced biological processes. 
      • This form of carbon sequestration occurs through increased rates of photosynthesis via land-use practices such as reforestation and sustainable forest management.

    Other Government efforts

    • The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill:
      • Apart from the other stated objectives, the bill aims to establish Carbon Markets in India.
        • The Bill empowers the central government to specify a carbon credit trading scheme.
        • The proposed amendments aims to encourage the development of a carbon market by laying the framework for issuance of carbon credits against deployment of clean technology. 
        • Investment in clean technology will help corporations in greening their business profiles and the attached carbon credits will provide an additional revenue stream. 
        • Hence, the proposed amendments seek to address a prominent gap in the climate change narrative with respect to involvement of the private sector.
    • Panchamrit strategy: 
      • Hon. PM Narendra Modi’s Panchamrit strategy was announced at the COP 26 in Glasgow conference into enhanced climate targets.
        • India will increase its non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 gigawatt (GW) by 2030.
        • It will meet 50 percent of its energy requirements from renewable sources by 2030.
        • The total projected carbon emissions will be reduced by 1 billion tonnes from now through 2030.
        • The carbon intensity of its economy will be brought down to less than 45 percent.
        • India will achieve its target of net zero by 2070.
      • India also recently updated its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) on the lines of this strategy.


    • A new gaming app, ‘Mrida’, has been launched to promote behavioural change among farmers. 
      • Apart from English, the app will be released in Marathi and Odiya to reach a larger population of farmers in the two states.

    Source: DTE