The Impact of Soil Conservation Policies on Carbon Sequestration in Agricultural Soils of the Central United States

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1996-11-01
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Mitchell, Paul
Lakshminarayan, P.
Otake, Toshitsugu
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Babcock, Bruce
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Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) conducts innovative public policy and economic research on agricultural, environmental, and food issues. CARD uniquely combines academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.

CARD researchers develop and apply economic theory, quantitative methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to create relevant knowledge. Communication efforts target state and federal policymakers; the research community; agricultural, food, and environmental groups; individual decision-makers; and international audiences.

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To evaluate the impact of conservation policies on soil organic carbon in agricultural soils, the authors link information from the 1992 National Resources Inventory (NRI) database and the extensive physical data on soils and climate from the SOILS5 database. These data serve as input for a biophysical process model calibrated for the conditions prevalent in the study region. Results indicate that reducing soil erosion, rather than removing land from agricultural production, is the most effective way to increase carbon sequestration and enhance soil quality.

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