Potential and cost of carbon sequestration in Indian agriculture: Estimates from long-term field experiments uri icon


  • Carbon sequestration in tropical soils has potential for mitigating global warming and increasing agricultural productivity. We analyzed 26 long-term experiments (LTEs) in different agro-climatic zones (ACZs) of India to assess the potential and cost of C sequestration. Data on initial and final soil organic C (SOC) concentration in the recommended N, P and K (NPK); recommended N, P and K plus farmyard manure (NPK + FYM) and unfertilized (control) treatments were used to calculate carbon sequestration potential (CSP) i.e., capacity to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) by increasing SOC stock, under different nutrient management scenarios. In most of the LTEs wheat equivalent yields were higher in the NPK + FYM treatment than the NPK treatment. However, partial factor productivity (PFP) was more with the NPK treatment. Average SOC concentration of the control treatment was 0.54%, which increased to 0.65% in the NPK treatment and 0.82% in the NPK + FYM treatment. Compared to the control treatment the NPK + FYM treatment sequestered 0.33 Mg C ha?1 yr?1 whereas the NPK treatment sequestered 0.16 Mg C ha?1 yr?1. The CSP in different nutrient management scenarios ranged from 2.1 to 4.8 Mg C ha?1 during the study period (average 16.9 yr) of the LTEs. In 17 out of 26 LTEs, the NPK + FYM treatment had higher SOC and also higher net return than that of the NPK treatment. In the remaining 9 LTEs SOC sequestration in the NPK + FYM treatment was accomplished with decreased net return suggesting that these are economically not attractive and farmers have to incur into additional cost to achieve C sequestration. The feasibility of SOC sequestration in terms of availability of FYM and other organic sources has been discussed in the paper

publication date

  • 2011