SOIL CARBON AND CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS
From Kansas State University's:
Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases (CASMGS)
Charles W. Rice, K-State Department of Agronomy, National CASMGS Director
(785) 532-7217 firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Staggenborg, K-State Department of Agronomy (785) 532-7214 email@example.com
Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications (785) 532-7105 firstname.lastname@example.org
COMET-VR: USDA’s Voluntary Reporting
Carbon Management Tool
The Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases-CarbOn Management Evaluation Tool (COMET-VR) is a web-based decision support tool for agricultural producers, land managers, soil scientists, and other agricultural interests. It is on the web at: http://www.cometvr.colostate.edu
The carbon management tool is a collaborative research effort between USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Colorado State University, Natural Resource Ecology Lab (CSU NREL).
This is an easy-to-use program that serves a dual purpose:
* It allows landowners and others to get a quick estimate of the carbon sequestration rate on any parcel of land anywhere in the U.S. (except Hawaii). They can also see how changes in management of the land might affect carbon sequestration rates.
* It also allows landowners a quick way to enroll their land into the USDA’s voluntary greenhouse gas reporting system – known as the “1605(b)” program.
How can a computer program estimate the carbon sequestration rate on any given parcel of land in the U.S.? Obviously, there are no actual measurements of soil carbon levels on file for every parcel of land. Instead, the developers of COMET-VR have constructed a computer model that can make a good estimate, based on inputs provided by the user. To accomplish this, the developers of the model combined research data on agricultural practices and soil carbon levels from across the country with information available on soil types in every county in the U.S. and other data.
The COMET-VR web site has boiled everything down to a short series of simple steps:
1. Select your state and county.
2. Select the soil texture and hydric information for the parcel, from a pull-down menu.
3. Enter the landscape position and cropping system used on the parcel during four distinct periods of time – again, using a pull-down menu of options.
4. Select the tillage system used on the parcel during the same four periods of time.
5. Click “Get Carbon” to get the model’s soil carbon calculation for the parcel.
6. To enter the data into the 1605(b) program, which is optional, enter the annual amount of gallons of diesel, gasoline, propane, biodiesel, N, natural gas, and electricity used on the parcel.
The results are presented as 10-year averages of soil carbon sequestration or emissions with associated statistical uncertainty values. Estimates can be used to construct a soil carbon inventory for the 1605(b) program.
This tool estimates soil carbon changes for management alternatives within each Major Land Resource Area (MLRA). The analysis is based on MLRA’s as defined by NRCS in Ag Handbook 296. COMET-VR uses the Century Soil Organic Matter model, a generalized biogeochemical ecosystem model that simulates carbon, nitrogen, and other nutrient dynamics. The model simulates cropland, grassland, forest and savanna ecosystems and land use changes between these different systems. The Century Model was developed by CSU and USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS).
-- Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications
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Conference information, presentations, and papers are available at http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/ctec/Fall_Forum.htm
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