Can planting cover crops reduce agricultural carbon emissions?
Environment Climate Change cover crops

Can planting cover crops reduce agricultural carbon emissions?

James Mwangi Ndiritu
James Mwangi Ndiritu

In 10 seconds: In the drive to achieve carbon-neutral agricultural production, scientists are considering the mass scaling up the use of ‘cover crops’ that support microorganisms with high carbon sequestration potential to increase soil organic carbon and nitrogen storage.

What’s the finding: Legume cover crops (plants that are cultivated when cash crops are not planted) improve soil health and provide ecosystem services – including carbon sequestration. They do this by providing a habitat and energy source for soil microorganisms that support crop growth and benefit the soil's organic carbon and nitrogen cycling systems. The soil can be protected from the effects of intensive tillage – resulting in the loss of essential ecosystem services - by planting the right cover crops that are selected to match the local climatic conditions and soil type.

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