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Nebraska CASMGS


The Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases (CASMGS) is a USDA funded intiative whose goal is to investigate the potential for agriculture to sequester (or store) greenhouse gases (GHG). The members are

Research Areas at UNL

Basic research on processes and mechanisms of soil C sequestration
  • 1. Understanding of processes controlling soil C transformations and stabilization
    • Manipulation of soil biochemistry and enzymology.
    • Analyzing the role of soil structure in sequestering carbon.
    • Applying advanced techniques to track the fate of specific C compounds.
  • 2. Enhancement of carbon sequestering capacity.
    • Manipulation of the capacity of degraded lands to sequester carbon.
    • Manipulation of carbon allocation patterns of crops.
    • Manipulation of plant chemistry to enhance stabilization of plant residues.

Development and assessment of best management practices (BMP)
  • 1. Partnerships with Federal, State and private organizations in defining and assessing BMPs.
  • 2. Compiling existing long-term field data on soil carbon changes for use in model validation.
    • Coordinate new sampling of appropriate sites to develop a database on soil carbon changes.
    • Organize associated information on productivity, management history and other factors.
  • 3. Economic assessments of BMPs.
    • Economic feasibility of adopting new technologies
    • Efficiency and comparative cost estimates of sequestering soil C for different policies, locations, and production practices.
    • Co-benefits and co-costs of carbon sequestration, including full accounting of changes in carbon equivalent emissions.

Prediction and assessment of C sequestration and GHG emissions
  • 1. Field-scale decision-support planning tool and models.
    • Quantify/predict soil carbon sequestration rates and potentials and N2O and CH4 emissions.
    • Evaluate alternative management strategies with respect to net returns or other criteria.
  • 2. Farm-level planning tool and models.
    • Full greenhouse gas accounting, with inclusion of livestock operations.
    • Analyze impacts of mitigation practices on farm level net returns.
    • Evaluate environmental co-benefits/co-costs at farm level.
    • Integrate with the field-scale model into a mitigation “tool kit”.
  • 3. Regional and National assessments.
    • Analysis of impacts of carbon sequestration policies on the agricultural economy.
    • Quantification of economic and biophysical uncertainties and geographic variability.
    • Evaluation of economic and environmental tradeoffs for policy options.
    • Evaluation of monitoring and transaction costs.
    • Evaluation of environmental co-benefits/co-costs.
  • 4. National level inventories of greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Improved estimates for annual inventories.
    • Advanced design for inventory methods with automated data retrieval and calculations.
    • Development and testing of inventory approaches for application in other countries.

Measurement and monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions and emission reductions
  • 1. Field-scale measurement programs that enable comparison of methods for estimating
         carbon sequestration, N2O emissions and CH4 uptake under specific climate-soil-management conditions.
  • 2. Design of integrated mechanisms to monitor carbon sequestration and net GHG emissions.
    • Evaluate existing models and inventory procedures.
    • Test aggregation procedures across spatial and temporal scales using data and models.
    • Investigate and develop the use of remotely sensed data as inputs to measurement and monitoring systems.
  • 3. Review existing contracts for obtaining environmental services and investigate feasible
         designs for soil carbon contracts in major agricultural regions of the U.S.
  • 4. Develop a spatial hierarchy (field to region) for which soil carbon measurement methods could be
  • 5. Partner with USDA, other Federal and state agencies to establish a nationwide monitoring
    • Periodic measurement of carbon stocks and net changes in stocks.
    • Combine with flux measurements to estimate carbon sequestration and net GHG emissions.
    • Use in verifying model-based estimates of carbon sequestration rates.
    • Determine uncertainty limits in carbon sequestration estimates.

Outreach and technology transfer
  • 1. Providing information to stakeholders.
    • Annual reports and papers.
    • Meetings and symposia.
    • Software and documentation.
    • Scientific and trade journal publications.
    • Popular press and multi-media publications.
    • Internet website.
  • 2. Documentation and distribution of analytical tools.
    • Models and data protocols for national inventories.
    • Models and data protocols for farm-level quantification of carbon sequestration.
    • Models for linked environmental / economic appraisal of sequestration options.
  • 3. Collaboration with scientists, economists and policy analysts in other countries.
    • Continued involvement in IPCC activities.
    • Participation in pilot projects in developing countries for testing inventory methodology and carbon sequestration potential.

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