Deep-rooted plants may be key to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere if land managers can capitalize on a new scientific finding from Marc Kramer, an assistant professor at Washington State University Vancouver, and his associates.
Kramer, who teaches environmental chemistry, and a group of scientific colleagues found a vast pool of old carbon lurking a foot or more beneath the Earth’s surface. The discovery of the carbon, which likely was deposited from deep-rooted plants pulling it out of the atmosphere over time, could point to a way to use agriculture to remove even more carbon dioxide from the air and lessen the impacts of global climate change.
“There’s a lot of gloom and doom about climate change, and here we have something that could turn into a win-win,” Kramer said. “Very few studies have looked this far deep. Most studies have focused on topsoil.”
Among Kramer’s findings was that Earth’s soils hold about three times the carbon currently in the atmosphere, an amount much larger than was previously thought.
Source: Sue Vorenberg, for the Columbian, November 20, 2017