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Capturing cropland and grassland management impacts on soil carbon in the UK Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) inventory - SP1113

Description
This project aims to fill a key gap in the UK’s Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory: changes in soil carbon under cropland and grassland management. The UK and its Devolved Administrations have ambitious targets for GHG emissions reductions by 2020 and 2050, and the improved management of soil-related ecosystem services, e.g. Defra’s Natural Environment White Paper’s ambition for all soils in England to be managed sustainably by 2030. Agricultural soil carbon sequestration could be a successful ‘win-win’ or ‘no-regrets’ policy as it could represent simultaneous reductions in atmospheric GHG emissions and therefore a positive impact on climate regulation, at potentially very low abatement costs with associated ecosystem service benefits, e.g. supporting biodiversity and the renewal, retention and delivery of nutrients to plants, regulating major elemental cycles and water flow and quality.
The key objectives of the project are:
• The development of an operational framework for reporting soil carbon stock changes from agricultural land management;
• The compilation of appropriate activity data for reporting at Tier 1 and/or Tier 2 levels;
• The integration of research on the impacts of land management on soil carbon stock change into a comprehensive “database” that will allow the elucidation of country-specific emission factors for the key land management activities in the UK; and
• The extension of estimates of soil carbon stock change into the future, in order to investigate the impact of policies, both for mitigation and other ambitions, such as energy/food security and the maintenance of biodiversity.
This approach will enable us, at a minimum, to report GHG emissions and removals from cropland and grassland management from 1990 to 2010 at Tier 1, but we envisage that Tier 2 reporting is achievable for the significant land management activities. The methodologies will be compatible with the current LULUCF inventory reporting system, and will be integrated into annual inventory reporting after the project completion. A range of Business As Usual and mitigation scenarios will be developed to investigate the potential for climate change mitigation from cropland and grassland management to 2020 and 2050. These will be applied using the methodology already developed for the 1990-2010 reporting and by Tier 3 ensemble modeling, and the results will be assessed for the mitigation potential and interacting impacts in different regions of the UK.
The results of the project will be used to improve the LULUCF inventory reporting and projections. This will better reflect the impacts of land management on GHG emissions and removals, enabling the analysis of the impact of specific policies in this area and progress in achieving climate change mitigation targets.
Objective
2.2 Objectives

If your application is accepted, these objectives may be included in the agreement between you and the Department. Please, therefore, restrict your entry to the salient points and set these out clearly and concisely.
The aim of this project is the development of a framework for capturing cropland and grassland management impacts on soil carbon in the UK LULUCF inventory and to populate this framework. We have identified the compilation of appropriate activity data and the development of an operational method to be a key objective of this project. This will enable us, at a minimum, to report GHG emissions and removals from cropland and grassland management at Tier 1, but we envisage that Tier 2 reporting is achievable for the significant land management activities. This will be achieved through the compilation of relevant research on soil carbon stock changes under land management from the UK and elsewhere, and the derivation of Tier 2 emission factors through an ensemble modeling approach using the advanced process models ECOSSE, Daycent and DNDC.
The compiled activity data and derived emission factors will be used to estimate soil carbon stock changes under cropland and grassland management from 1990 to 2010, using methodologies compatible with the current LULUCF inventory reporting system. A range of Business As Usual and mitigation scenarios will be developed to investigate the potential for climate change mitigation from cropland and grassland management to 2020 and 2050. These will be applied via a two-pronged approach: (1) using the methodology already developed for the 1990-2010 reporting, and (2) taking forward the ensemble modeling to provide finer spatial detail, the interactions with climate change and other feedbacks, and a tier 3 validation of the Tier 2 scenario modeling approach. The results will be assessed for the mitigation potential and interacting impacts in different regions of the UK.
Specific evidence objectives are listed below. These are broken down into more detailed milestones in each of the tasks listed in the Approach and Methodology section:
1. A literature review identifying the key cropland and grassland management activities operating in each country of the UK, and associated research into soil carbon stock changes.(March 2013)
2. A literature review of how other countries report carbon stock changes from cropland and grassland management in their LULUCF inventories (April 2013)
3. The compilation of relevant soil carbon stock change data and regional modelling of soil carbon change to derive Tier 2 emission factors (September 2013)
4. The implementation of a Tier 1 methodology (June 2013), the establishment of a framework for annual reporting (June 2013) and the implementation of Tier 2 reporting for 1990-2010 (September 2013)
5. Modelling implementation of mitigation scenarios to 2020 and 2050 and an assessment of mitigation potentials and impacts in the different countries of the UK (February 2014)
These evidence objectives will be compiled in two project reports: an interim report in June 2013 and a final report in February 2014.
Defra have identified that this research should be designed around three work packages.
• WP1: Estimates of UK annual emissions and removals for cropland and grassland management activities which have the potential to change levels of soil carbon for 2010.
• WP2: Back-casting annual emissions and removals to 1990 and forecasting annual emissions and removals to 2020 and 2050
• WP3: Calculating the mitigation and offset potential available through changing cropland and grassland management by 2020 and 2050.
These work packages will be delivered via 6 linked tasks, which map on to the Defra work package framework as shown in Figure 1 (Annex 2 in separate file). These show the interactions between tasks and the role of each of the contractors in delivery.

Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : SP1113 Final report   (3538k)
• FRP - Final Report : SP1113 Task 1 Final Report - Literature Review   (1522k)
• FRP - Final Report : SP1113 Task 3 Final Report - Review of other countries   (2185k)
• ANX - Annex : SP1113 Task 3 - All country data summary   (2160k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2014

Cost: £390,090
Contractor / Funded Organisations
A D A S UK Ltd (ADAS), A E A Technology plc (AEA), Centre For Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), SAC Commercial Ltd
Keywords
Agriculture and Climate Change              
Carbon