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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Potential for soil organic carbon sequestration in grasslands in East African countries: A review

Tessema, Bezaye; Sommer, Rolf; Piikki, Kristin; Soderstrom, Mats; Namirembe, Sara; Notenbaert, An; Tamene, Lulseged; Nyawira, Sylvia; Paul, Birthe

Abstract

Grasslands occupy almost half of the world's land area. Soil organic carbon (SOC) is a key indicator of soil fertility and grassland productivity. Increasing SOC stocks (so-called SOC sequestration) improves soil fertility and contributes to climate change mitigation by binding atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Grasslands constitute about 70% of all agricultural land, but their potential for SOC sequestration is largely unknown. This review paper quantitatively summarizes observation-based studies on the SOC sequestration potential of grasslands in six East African countries (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) and seeks to identify knowledge gaps related to SOC sequestration potential in the region. In the studies reviewed, SOC stocks in grasslands range from 3 to 93 Mg C/ha in the upper 0.3 m of the soil profile, while SOC sequestration rate ranges from 0.1 to 3.1 Mg C ha(-1) year(-1) under different management strategies. Grazing management is reported to have a considerable impact on SOC sequestration rates, and grassland regeneration and protection are recommended as options to stimulate SOC sequestration. However, a very limited number of relevant studies are available (n = 23) and there is a need for fundamental information on SOC sequestration potential in the region. The effectiveness of potential incentive mechanisms, such as payments for environmental services, to foster uptake of SOC-enhancing practices should also be assessed.

Keywords

GHG emission; grassland; grazing; management practices

Published in

Grassland Science
2020, volume: 66, number: 3, pages: 135-144
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Tessema, Bezaye
Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR)
Sommer, Rolf
WWF Germany
Piikki, Kristin (Persson, Kristin)
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Piikki, Kristin (Persson, Kristin)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Namirembe, Sara
Stepup Stand Ltd
Notenbaert, An
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Tamene, Lulseged
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Nyawira, Sylvia
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Paul, Birthe
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land
SDG13 Climate action

UKÄ Subject classification

Soil Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/grs.12267

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/104584