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Using soil to improve CO2 levels

Colorado State University Scientist Dr. Keith Paustian talks about carbon sequestration at the Soil Health Conference in St. Louis July 13, 2017. Photo: Ben Nuelle

In 2013, CO2 levels surpassed 400 ppm for the first time in history. A Colorado State scientist is curious to find out if certain agriculture practices could help lower CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

“One of the ways we can try to draw down carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is can we have better Ag management practices that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in our soils. Thereby, not only improve the atmosphere but improve our soils at the same time and improve plant productivity,” Senior Research Scientist Keith Paustian at the Natural Resource Ecology Lab said.

He adds we need to find ways of increasing production but also reducing nitrogen loss.

“It’s not so much about not using nitrogen anymore but can we use it smarter? In some cases we can reduce and other cases we don’t have to increase our nitrogen use but can supplement that with things like cover crops or diversified crop rotations.”

Paustian talked about carbon sequestration at the Soil Health Conference hosted by the Soil Health Institute in St. Louis last Thursday.