In 2009 the Australian government recognised a critical need to define realistic and scientifically robust carbon sequestration options for agricultural soils. In response the Soil Carbon Research Program (SCaRP) was established as part of the Climate Change Research Program within the Australia's Farming Future initiative of the Australian government with additional investment from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). The SCaRP brought together research staff from national and state government organisations and universities across Australia to deliver a coordinated program of research on soil carbon. The project was tasked with delivering a coordinated set of projects that were consistent with national greenhouse gas inventory methodology, would aid in the development of emissions trading policy and could identify practical greenhouse gas mitigation programs.
This special edition of Soil Research Soil Carbon in Australia's Agricultural Lands presents the results obtained by the SCaRP. The 18 papers cover:
- methodological developments that allowed quantification of soil carbon stocks and composition
- regional assessments of the soil carbon stocks present under different land-use and management/climate/soil type combinations
- quantification of the impact of subtropical perennial pastures on soil carbon stocks.
The program would not have been possible without the widespread cooperation of Australian landholders in providing access for soil sampling and information on management history. The SCaRP is grateful to the farming community for actively engaging in this project and to the funding provided by the Australian Government and GRDC.
This special issue of the Journal will be of particular interest to research scientists, resource managers, consultants, as well as farmers, and is essential reading for anyone interested in measuring soil carbon and quantifying sequestration in perennial pasture systems.
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Online edition now available.