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Wageningen University (2014)

The potential of carbon sequestration to mitigate against climate change in forests and agro ecosystems of Zimbabwe

Mujuru, L.

Titre : The potential of carbon sequestration to mitigate against climate change in forests and agro ecosystems of Zimbabwe

Auteur : Mujuru, L.

Université de soutenance : Wageningen University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Thesis 2014

Résumé partiel
Climate change adversely affects human livelihoods and the environment through alteration of temperatures, rainfall patterns, sea level rise and ecosystem productivity. Developing countries are more vulnerable to climate change because they directly depend on agriculture and natural ecosystem products for their livelihoods. Mitigation of climate change impacts includes practices that can store carbon (C) in soil and biomass thus, reducing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gasses. In addition, planted and natural forests that store large amounts of C, can become key resources for mitigating and reducing vulnerability to climate change, whilst infertile agricultural soils require large amounts of chemical and/or organic fertilisers to improve productivity. Increasing awareness about climate change mitigation has led to realisation of a need for sustainable land management practices and promoting soil C sequestration to reduce the greenhouse effects.

The C storage potential of agricultural soils is compounded by conventional tillage practices, covering large areas with only small portions of fields dedicated to conservation farming practices. Maintaining soil and crop productivity under these agricultural systems becomes a major challenge especially in rain-fed arid and semi-arid regions, characterised by long annual dry spells. Conservation tillage practices, such as no-till and reduced tillage, have been reported to increase soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in agricultural systems as they reduce soil disturbance, whereas conventional tillage has been criticised for causing soil C losses, accelerating soil erosion and displacing of soil nutrients, despite benefits, such as reduced soil compaction, weed control and preparation of favourable seedbed, which have been reported under conventional tillage. The identification of appropriate agricultural management practices is critical for realisation of the benefits of Soil C sequestration and reducing emissions from agricultural activities.

This thesis was planned to improve our understanding on how tillage, fertilisation, tree planting or natural forest conservation can enhance C sequestration and thus mitigate climate change. The main goal was to quantify the influence of tillage, fertilisation and plantation forestry practices on C and N dynamics in bulk soil and density separated soil organic matter (SOM) fractions relative natural forest. Tillage treatments under reduced tillage (RP), no tillage (DS) and conventional tillage (CT) were compared with natural forests (NF) in sandy Haplic Arenosols and clayey Rhodic Ferralsols. Impacts of fertilisation were assessed from three fertility treatments ; unfertilised control (control), nitrogen fertiliser (N Fert) and nitrogen fertiliser plus cattle manure (N Fert + manure) in conventionally tilled fields on Arenosols (sandy soil) and Luvisols (clayey soil) along two soil fertility gradients. Similarly, C and N storage in tree farming was studied using a Pinus patula chronosequence. Soil sampling followed randomised complete block design with four replications in agricultural systems and two replicates in each plantation age stands and natural forest. Sodium polytungstate (density 1.6 g cm-3) was used to isolate organic matter into free light fraction (fLF), occluded light fraction (oLF) and mineral associated heavy fraction (MaHF). Carbon an N were analysed by dry combustion and C and N stocks calculated using bulk density, depth and C and N concentration. The RothC model was used to match density separated fractions with conceptual model pools for agricultural and natural forest soils.

Mots clés : carbon sequestration / climatic change / forests / agroecosystems / mitigation / soil carbon sequestration / carbon cycle / carbon / zimbabwe

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Page publiée le 18 novembre 2014, mise à jour le 20 décembre 2021