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The importance of soil carbon



"The amount of carbon that can be restored in the world's degraded agricultural soils will directly influence global food security and climate change within our lifetime." - Rattan Lal, director of the carbon management and sequestration centre at Ohio State University.
What is soil Carbon?
Soil carbon is the generic name for carbon held within the soil, primarily in association with its organic content. Soil carbon is the largest terrestrial pool of carbon. Humans have, and will likely continue to have, significant impacts on the size of this pool. Soil carbon plays a key role in the carbon cycle and thus is important in global climate models.
Soil carbon: The Statistics
Although the figure is frequently being revised upwards with new discoveries, over 2700 Gigaton of carbon is stored in soils worldwide, which is well above the combined total of atmosphere (780 Gt) or biomass (575 Gt), most of which is wood. Carbon is taken out of the atmosphere by plant photosynthesis; about 60 Gt annually becomes various types of soil organic matter including surface litter; about 60 Gt annually is respired or oxidized from soil.

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