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Evidence of limited carbon sequestration in soils under no-tillage systems in the Cerrado of Brazil

Corbeels M., Marchao R., Neto M.S., Garcia Ferreira E., Madari B.E., Scopel E., Brito O.R.. 2016. Scientific Reports, 6 (21450) : 8 p..

DOI: 10.1038/srep21450

The Brazilian government aims at augmenting the area cropped under no-tillage (NT) from 32 to 40 million ha by 2020 as a means to mitigate CO2 emissions. We estimated soil carbon (C) sequestration under continuous NT systems in two municipalities in the Goiás state that are representative of the Cerrado. A chronosequence of NT fields of different age since conversion from conventional tillage (CT) was sampled in 2003 and 2011. Soil C levels of native Cerrado and pasture were measured for comparison. After about 11 to 14 years, soil C stocks under NT were highest and at the levels of those under natural Cerrado. Average annual rates of soil C sequestration estimated using the chronosequence approach were respectively 1.61 and 1.48 Mg C ha-1 yr-1 for the 2003 and 2011 sampling, and were higher than those observed using repeated sampling after eight years. The diachronic sampling revealed that the younger NT fields tended to show higher increases in soil C stocks than the older fields. Converting an extra 8 million ha of cropland from CT to NT represents an estimated soil C storage of about 8 Tg C yr-1 during 10 to 15 years.

Mots-clés : non-travail du sol; stockage; carbone; matière organique du sol; séquestration du carbone; teneur en matière organique; brésil; cerrado

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