Grace, Peter (Michigan State University, W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, Hickory Corners, MI, 49060-9516; Phone: 269-671-2359; Email:


Maximizing Net Carbon Sequestration in Agroecosystems of the North Central Region


P.R. Grace *, S.H. Gage, M. Colunga-Garcia, G.P. Robertson, G.R. Safir


The identification of high potential regions and management strategies for sequestration of carbon in agroecosystems is an important policy objective in the mitigation of global climate change. Regional and sub-regional assessments on the impact of climate change on terrestrial carbon storage allow us to deal with a greater level of detail and spatial resolution than would be feasible for a continental approach whilst still incorporating large, diverse, and economically important regions. The North Central Region (NCR) of the United States comprises the 12 states of the greater Midwest and is the major producer of corn and soybeans in the country, as well as producing half of the nationís wheat. The major Land Resource Region in the NCR is the Central Feed Grains and Livestock Region, more commonly known as the Corn Belt. We demonstrate the use of a simple process based simulation model, SOCRATES, within a generic data handling environment, MASIF, to rapidly integrate spatially explicit climate, soil and terrestrial ecosystem characterization data to estimate changes in soil organic carbon and associated greenhouse gas emissions within agricultural soils the NCR in response to management and projected changes in climate over the next century. The main considerations in using SOCRATES is its ability to accurately predict carbon and associated greenhouse gas emissions using non-site specific concepts of carbon cycling and biogeochemistry, its relative ease of use and minimal data input requirements. In its purest form, SOCRATES uses a weekly time step, only requires mean annual precipitation and temperature data, soil clay content or cation exchange capacity. Utilizing extensive non-CO2 emissions data from the Long-Term Ecological Research experiment at the Kellogg Biological Station, we can also provide initial estimates of Global Warming Potential of management strategies across the NCR.