Assessing the ecological limits of conservation management to sequester soil organic carbon, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, enhance soil quality, and improve agricultural resiliency.

The Conservation Agriculture Network is a network of the Croplands Research Group of the Global Research Alliance.

The aim of the Conservation Agriculture Network is to understand how conservation agriculture practices, including reduced till systems, permanent soil cover and reduced fallow periods can reduce N2O emissions. Other strategies to reduce GHG emissions from crops include enhancing soil carbon sequestration, improved soil quality, increased nutrient use efficiency, and increased water use efficiency.

The activities of the Network include understanding where each practice is able to reduce emissions, what conditions are required and how this enhances productivity. The Network will also estimate the mitigation impact of crop rotations and cover crops, multi-intervention practices and how these change GHGs, as well as considering where alternative conservation tillage practices might be beneficial if no-till is not appropriate. Activities for the Network could include:

  • Cover crops and crop rotation, where does it work or not (dryland and water constraints).
  • Bringing together results from multiple regions and countries to understand the options.
  • Cover crops, where these increase N2O emissions and how mange this practice.
  • Natural vegetation and ecosystems that can be mimicked in agricultural systems.
  • Review the uptake of nitrogen across the whole system – rotation, tillage, and cover crops.
  • Global assessment of where cover crops work – and if not what the options would be instead.

 

Upcoming activities

  • Review methods and practices for tillage, no-till, rotation etc. and the conditions and climate where these reduce GHG emissions.
  • Publish case studies of conservation agriculture practices
  • Understand management practices for cover crops, including impacts on soil carbon.

Craig Drury

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Canada

craig.drury@agr.gc.ca