Oskar Englund
September 2023

The potential to increase soil carbon in European agriculture using multifunctional production systems

The agriculture sector can contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing its own greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, sequestering carbon in vegetation and soils, and providing biomass to substitute for fossil fuels and other GHG-intensive products. The sector also needs to address water, soil, and biodiversity impacts caused by historic and current practices. Emerging EU policies create incentives for cultivation of perennial plants that provide biomass along with environmental benefits. One such option, common in northern Europe, is to include grass in rotations with annual crops to provide biomass while remediating soil organic carbon (SOC) losses and other environmental impacts. 

This webinar presents the findings from a recent study in which a spatially explicit model was applied on >81,000 sub-watersheds in EU27 + UK (Europe) to explore the effects of widespread deployment of such systems. The model identifies and quantifies suitable areas for increased grass cultivation and corresponding biomass, protein supply, SOC sequestration, and reductions in nitrogen emissions to water (as well as wind and water erosion). The model also provides information about possible flood mitigation.