Soil carbon sequestration in degraded semiarid agro-ecosystems - Perils and Potentials

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The Kyoto Protocol opens new possibilities for using the biosphere as a carbon sink. Using agro-ecosystems as carbon sinks may be the most appropriate practice from both environmental and socioeconomic points of view. Degraded agro-ecosystems in Africa might benefit significantly from the improved land management that would be part of a carbon sequestration program. There are vast areas of these agro-ecosystems in Africa and their rehabilitation is an urgent matter. We agree with UNEP that there are potentially important synergies to be made between the Convention on Climate Change, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the UN Convention on Biodiversity. In this paper, we have investigated the potential for increasing soil carbon content in semiarid agro-ecosystems in the Sudan and found that increasing fallow periods will result in increased soil carbon content and converting marginal agricultural areas to rangeland will restore the carbon levels to 80% of the natural savannah carbon levels in 100 years. The economic gain from a future carbon sequestration program has the potential of a significant contribution to the household economy in these agro-ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-477
JournalAmbio: a Journal of Human Environment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Physical Geography


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