Special Issue "Cropland Carbon"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ritvik Sahajpal
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, USA
Interests: environmental science; cropland carbon; land use; machine learning; food security
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Alyssa Whitcraft
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
NASA Harvest, Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, 2181 LeFrak Hall, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Interests: Agriculture monitoring; remote sensing; sustainable and regenerative agriculture; global policy drivers

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ensuring global food security relies partly on increasing the intensity and acreage devoted to agricultural production. While agricultural lands have potentially large CO2 offset capacities, agricultural activities, including farm-related land clearing and deforestation contribute to climate change through GHG emissions. Regenerative agriculture (RA) techniques promise to address this dilemma by working to enhance soil and environmental health while maintaining or building on the yield gains in traditional intensive agriculture. This Special Issue will collect the latest research that can improve our understanding of the impact of RA techniques on food production and environment at a variety of scales, characterize cropland carbon cycling, and use modeled and satellite-based Earth Observation (EO) data to effectively monitor crop productivity and C fluxes.

In this Special Issue, we invite papers focusing on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  1. Modeling/mapping of C fluxes in RA ecosystems
  2. Evaluating the use of EO data to monitor crop productivity as impacted by management techniques used in RA ecosystems
  3. Understanding the linkages between food security, climate change and soil degradation in traditional agriculture and RA ecosystems.
  4. Establishing baseline spatio-temporal datasets on RA management practices such as no-till, biochar, etc.

Dr. Ritvik Sahajpal
Dr. Alyssa Whitcraft
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Cropland carbon
  • climate change
  • EO data
  • regenerative agriculture
  • C cycle

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Communication
Influence of the Choice of Cultivar and Soil Fertilization on PTE Concentrations in Lactuca sativa L. in the Framework of the Regenerative Agriculture Revolution
Land 2021, 10(10), 1053; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10101053 - 07 Oct 2021
Viewed by 289
Abstract
Evaluating the relative weight of the choice of cultivar and soil fertilization on potentially toxic elements (PTEs) accumulation is crucial in promoting informed decisions in the framework of regenerative agriculture. To this end, 11 PTEs (Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, [...] Read more.
Evaluating the relative weight of the choice of cultivar and soil fertilization on potentially toxic elements (PTEs) accumulation is crucial in promoting informed decisions in the framework of regenerative agriculture. To this end, 11 PTEs (Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, Pb, Zn) were determined in both leaves and roots of six cultivars (Stylist, Xanadu, Aljeva, Bacio, Analena, Vincenzo) of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) grown side by side on mineral fertilized or biowaste compost amended soils, under greenhouse conditions. The use of multivariate and linear modelling approaches indicated that the organ and cultivar primarily account for the variability in PTE concentrations. In terms of PTE partitioning between organs, Cd and Mg were preferentially accumulated in leaves, whereas Cu, Pb, K and Zn in roots. As for the cultivar, Xanadu showed the highest concentrations of several PTEs, with Cd reaching concerning levels. Fertilization had a detectable contribution only on Cd accumulation, slightly increased in leaves by compost. Findings highlight the key role of cultivar choice in guaranteeing food safety and grant the possibility to adopt biowaste compost in regenerative agriculture without concerns about PTE accumulation enhancements in lettuce, but demand a cautionary approach in the case of Cd. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cropland Carbon)
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Article
High-Resolution Monitoring and Assessment of Evapotranspiration and Gross Primary Production Using Remote Sensing in a Typical Arid Region
Land 2021, 10(4), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10040396 - 09 Apr 2021
Viewed by 772
Abstract
Land surface evapotranspiration (ET) and gross primary productivity (GPP) are critical components in terrestrial ecosystems with water and carbon cycles. Large-scale, high-resolution, and accurately quantified ET and GPP values are important fundamental data for freshwater resource management and help in understanding terrestrial carbon [...] Read more.
Land surface evapotranspiration (ET) and gross primary productivity (GPP) are critical components in terrestrial ecosystems with water and carbon cycles. Large-scale, high-resolution, and accurately quantified ET and GPP values are important fundamental data for freshwater resource management and help in understanding terrestrial carbon and water cycles in an arid region. In this study, the revised surface energy balance system (SEBS) model and MOD17 GPP algorithm were used to estimate daily ET and GPP at 100 m resolution based on multi-source satellite remote sensing data to obtain surface biophysical parameters and meteorological forcing data as input variables for the model in the midstream oasis area of the Heihe River Basin (HRB) from 2010 to 2016. Then, we further calculated the ecosystem water-use efficiency (WUE). We validated the daily ET, GPP, and WUE from ground observations at a crop oasis station and conducted spatial intercomparisons of monthly and annual ET, GPP, and WUE at the irrigation district and cropland oasis scales. The site-level evaluation results show that ET and GPP had better performance than WUE at the daily time scale. Specifically, the deviations in the daily ET, GPP, and WUE data compared with ground observations were small, with a root mean square error (RMSE) and mean absolute percent error (MAPE) of 0.75 mm/day and 26.59%, 1.13 gC/m2 and 36.62%, and 0.50 gC/kgH2O and 39.83%, respectively. The regional annual ET, GPP, and WUE varied from 300 to 700 mm, 200 to 650 gC/m2, and 0.5 to 1.0 gC/kgH2O, respectively, over the entire irrigation oasis area. It was found that annual ET and GPP were greater than 550 mm and 500 gC/m2, and annual oasis cropland WUE had strong invariability and was maintained at approximately 0.85 gC/kgH2O. The spatial intercomparisons from 2010 to 2016 revealed that ET had similar spatial patterns to GPP due to tightly coupled carbon and water fluxes. However, the WUE spatiotemporal patterns were slightly different from both ET and GPP, particularly in the early and late growing seasons for the oasis area. Our results demonstrate that spatial full coverage and reasonably fine spatiotemporal variation and variability could significantly improve our understanding of water-saving irrigation strategies and oasis agricultural water management practices in the face of water shortage issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cropland Carbon)
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Article
Mapping Conservation Management Practices and Outcomes in the Corn Belt Using the Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS) and the Denitrification–Decomposition (DNDC) Model
Land 2020, 9(11), 408; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9110408 - 27 Oct 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1547
Abstract
Identifying and quantifying conservation-practice adoption in U.S. cropland is key to accurately monitoring trends in soil health regionally and nationally and informing climate change mitigation efforts. We present the results of an automated system used across 645 counties in the United States Corn [...] Read more.
Identifying and quantifying conservation-practice adoption in U.S. cropland is key to accurately monitoring trends in soil health regionally and nationally and informing climate change mitigation efforts. We present the results of an automated system used across 645 counties in the United States Corn Belt from 2005 to 2018, mapped at field-scale and summarized for distribution at aggregated scales. Large-scale mapping by OpTIS (Operational Tillage Information System), a software tool that analyzes remotely sensed data of agricultural land, provides trends of conservation tillage (defined as >30% residue cover), cover cropping, and crop rotations, while modeling by DNDC (Denitrification–Decomposition), a process-based model of carbon and biogeochemistry in soil, provides estimates of the ecosystem outcomes associated with the changes in management practices mapped by OpTIS. Ground-truthing data acquired via OpTIS mobile, a roadside field-surveying app, were used for verification in 30 counties. OpTIS results for the Corn Belt show adoption of cover crops after planting corn and soy increased from 1% to 3% of the mapped area when comparing 2006 to 2018. Comparison of trends for conservation tillage use from 2006 to 2018 shows a slight decrease in conservation tillage adoption, from 46% to 44%. Results from DNDC show these soils sequestered soil organic carbon (SOC) at an area-weighted mean change in SOC (dSOC) rate of 161 kgC/ha/year. Comparatively, in a scenario modeled without the adoption of soil health management practices, the same soils would have lost SOC at an area-weighted rate of −65 kgC/ha/year. As many factors affect changes to SOC, including climate and initial SOC in soils, modeling counterfactual scenarios at the field scale demonstrates outcomes of current soil health management in comparison to regional management practices and best management practices, with respect to SOC sequestration. Regional trends in adoption rates of conservation agriculture and resulting soil health implications are of great use for a wide range of stakeholders. We demonstrate the capability of OpTIS remote sensing to deliver robust, large-scale, multi-sensor, ground-verified monitoring data of current and historical adoption of conservation practices, and of DNDC process-based modeling to provide assessments of the associated environmental outcomes across regions in U.S. cropland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cropland Carbon)
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Review

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Review
Development of a Land Use Carbon Inventory for Agricultural Soils in the Canadian Province of Ontario
Land 2021, 10(7), 765; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10070765 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 614
Abstract
Globally, agricultural soils are being evaluated for their role in climate change regulation as a potential sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) through sequestration of organic carbon as soil organic matter. Scientists and policy analysts increasingly seek to develop programs and [...] Read more.
Globally, agricultural soils are being evaluated for their role in climate change regulation as a potential sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) through sequestration of organic carbon as soil organic matter. Scientists and policy analysts increasingly seek to develop programs and policies which recognize the importance of mitigation of climate change and insurance of ecological sustainability when managing agricultural soils. In response, many countries are exploring options to develop local land-use carbon inventories to better understand the flow of carbon in agriculture to estimate its contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting. For instance, the Canadian province of Ontario does not currently have its own GHG inventory and relies on the Canada’s National Inventory Report (NIR). To address this, the province explored options to develop its own land-use carbon inventory to better understand the carbon resource in agricultural soils. As part of this undertaking, a gap analysis was conducted to identify the critical information gaps and limitations in estimating soil organic carbon (SOC) monitoring to develop a land-use carbon inventory (LUCI) for the cropland sector in Ontario. We conducted a review of analytical and modeling methods used to quantify GHG emissions and reporting for the cropland sectors in Canada, and compared them with the methods used in seven other countries (i.e., France, United Kingdom; Germany; United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan). From this comparison, four target areas of research were identified to consider in the development of a cropland sector LUCI in Ontario. First, there needs to be a refinement of the modelling approach used for SOC accounting. The Century model, which is used for Ontario’s cropland sector, can benefit from updates to the crop growth model and from the inclusion of manure management and other amendments. Secondly, a raster-based spatially explicit modelling approach is recommended as an alternative to using polygon-based inputs for soil data and census information for land management. This approach can leverage readily available Earth Observation (EO) data (e.g., remote sensing maps, digital soil maps). Thirdly, the contributions from soil erosion need to be included in inventory estimates of SOC emissions and removals from cropland. Fourth, establishment of an extensive network of long-term experimental sites to calibrate and validate the SOC models (i.e., CENTURY) is required. This can be done by putting in place a ground-truth program, through farmer-led research initiatives and collaboration, to deal with uncertainties due to spatial variability and regional climates. This approach would provide opportunities for farmers to collaborate on data collection by keeping detailed records of their cropping and soil management practices, and crop yields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cropland Carbon)
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