One approach to increasing the climate-regulating potential of the agricultural sector is carbon sequestration in agricultural soils. This involves storing atmospheric carbon dioxide in the soil in the form of soil organic carbon (SOC) through agricultural management practices (AMPs). Model simulations of area-specific current and future SOC stocks can be used to test appropriate AMPs. In this study, the CANDY Carbon Balance (CCB) model was used to determine how different AMPs could affect SOC stocks in a study area in northern Saxony, Germany. Specifically, we used scenarios with different intensities of sustainable AMPs to assess the potential effects of reduced tillage, crop cultivation, and fertilizer management, as well as the management of crop residues and by-products. The analysis was carried out for the simulation period 2020–2070, with and without consideration of climate change effects. The results showed an average carbon sequestration potential of 5.13–7.18 t C ha−1 for the whole study area, depending on the intensity of AMP implemented. While higher intensities of sustainable AMP implementation generally had a positive impact on carbon sequestration, the scenario with the highest implementation intensity only led to the second highest gains in SOC stocks. The most important factor in increasing SOC stocks was reduced tillage, which resulted in a carbon sequestration potential of 0.84 t C ha−1 by 2070. However, reduced application rates of fertilizers also proved to be critical, resulting in a reduction in carbon stocks of up to 2.2 t C ha−1 by 2070. Finally, the application of high-intensity sustainable AMPs was shown to be able to offset the negative impacts of an intermediate climate change scenario for most of the simulation period. Overall, the results not only confirmed existing knowledge on the effects of AMPs on carbon sequestration for a specific case study area, but also identified future management scenarios that stress the need for widespread adoption of sustainable management practices under changing climate conditions.
|Number of pages||17|
|Publication status||Published - 17 Jul 2023|