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Soil carbon sequestration under Miscanthus x giganteus - A large scale survey

Jesko Zimmermann

Jesko Zimmermann

zimmerjr@tcd.ie

Supervisor: Prof. Mike Jones

Bioenergy crops, Soil carbon sequestration, Miscanthus x giganteus

The bioenergy crop Miscanthus has the potential not only to mitigate for carbon emissions but also to act as carbon sinks by sequestering carbon. Measurements on Miscanthus plots however show conflicting results in changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) and sequestration potentials. Conversion of land use to bioenergy crops can result in carbon emissions from soil in amounts that would take decades of bioenergy crop production to compensate for. The amount of carbon released depends on the bioenergy crop, the former land-use, as well as soil properties and climate conditions. The goal of this study is to identify the conditions under which Miscanthus can be produced in the Irish landscape without releasing a non-compensable amount of carbon into the atmosphere. This will depend on determining the initial carbon loss and the time needed to balance this loss by carbon sequestration. Also knowledge about the factors influencing these processes is crucial.

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Last updated 14 December 2009 botany@tcd.ie.