Monday, May 9, 2011

Soil Organic Carbon – Basis for Sustainable Production

What is Soil Organic Carbon (SOC)?

Soil organic Carbon is the fraction of carbon associated with soil organic matter. Soil organic matter is the organic fraction of the soil that is made up of decomposed plant and animal material as well as micro organisams.

Why soil organic carbon is important?

A.      Increasing soil organic carbon can improve soil health and also mitigate climate change

B.      Soil organic carbon is important for chemical, physical and biological fertility of the soil

C.      Decomposition of soil organic matter releases nitrogen, phospohorus and range of other nutrients  for plant growth

D.      Soil organic carbon improves soil structure and physical properties like water holding capacity, water infiltration, gaseous exchange, root growth and ease of cultivation

E.       Improve soil biological health. SOC will act as source of food for flora and fauna in the soil

F.       Soil organic carbon lessen the effects of harmful substances such as toxins and heavy metals

Factors affecting SOC:

A.      Rain fall

B.      Temperature

C.      Vegetation

D.      Soil type

Management practices that reduce soil organic carbon:

A.      Fallowing

B.      Cultivation  

C.      Stubble burning or removal

D.      Over Grazing

Management Practices that increase soil organic Carbon:

A.      Crop rotation with legumes and non-legumes

B.      Green manuring

C.      Green leaf manuring

D.      Application of FYM

E.       Application of leaf based composts such as nadep compost

F.       Mulching

G.     Incorporation of crop residues

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