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Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090133

SOC Stock Changes and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Following Tropical Land Use Conversions to Plantation Crops on Mineral Soils, with a Special Focus on Oil Palm and Rubber Plantations

1
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
2
Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, University of Greifswald, partner in the Greifswald Mire Centre, 17487 Greifswald, Germany
3
The Mullion Group, Canberra, ACT 2607, Australia
4
Advanced Agriecological Research Sdn. Bhd., 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 July 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 29 August 2018 / Published: 1 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Organic Carbon)
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Abstract

The increasing global demand for vegetable oils has resulted in a significant increase in the area under oil palm in the tropics during the last couple of decades, and this is projected to increase further. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil discourages the conversion of peatlands to oil palm and rubber plantations. However, our understanding of the effects on soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of land use conversion is incomplete, especially for mineral soils under primary forests, secondary forests, rubber and other perennial plantations in the tropics. In this review we synthesised information on SOC stocks and GHG emissions from tropical mineral soils under forest, oil palm and rubber plantations and other agroecosystems across the tropical regions. We found that the largest SOC losses occurred after land use conversion from primary forest to oil palm and rubber plantations. Secondary forest and pasture lands showed lower SOC losses as well as total GHG (CO2, N2O and CH4) emissions when converted to oil palm and rubber plantations. However, due to the limited data available on all three GHG emissions, there remains high uncertainty in GHG emissions estimates, and regional GHG accounting is more reliable. We recommend long-term monitoring of oil palm and other perennial plantations established on tropical mineral soils on different soil types and regions on SOC stock changes and total GHG emissions and evaluate appropriate management practices to optimise production and sustainable economic returns, and minimise environmental impact. View Full-Text
Keywords: land use change; soil organic carbon stock; GHG emissions; agroecosystems; oil palm plantation; rubber plantation; tropical forest conversion; mineral soil land use change; soil organic carbon stock; GHG emissions; agroecosystems; oil palm plantation; rubber plantation; tropical forest conversion; mineral soil
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Shanmugam, S.; Dalal, R.C.; Joosten, H.; Raison, R.J.; Joo, G.K. SOC Stock Changes and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Following Tropical Land Use Conversions to Plantation Crops on Mineral Soils, with a Special Focus on Oil Palm and Rubber Plantations. Agriculture 2018, 8, 133.

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