Short communication. Potential to mitigate anthropogenic CO2 emissions by tillage reduction in dryland soils of Spain
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Spain is one of the countries with the highest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the EU-27. Consequently, mitigation strategies need to be reported and quantified to accomplish the goals and requirements of the Kyoto Protocol. In this study, a first estimation of the carbon (C) mitigation potential of tillage reduction in Mediterranean rainfed Spain is presented. Results from eight studies carried out in Spain under rainfed agriculture to investigate the effects of no-tillage (NT) and reduced tillage (RT) compared with conventional tillage (CT) on soil organic carbon (SOC) were used. For current land surface under conservation tillage, NT and RT are sequestering 0.14 and 0.08 Tg C yr-1, respectively. Those rates represent 1.1% and 0.6% of the total CO2 emissions generated from agricultural activities in Spain during 2006. Alternatively, in a hypothetical scenario where all the arable dryland was under either NT or RT management, SOC sequestration would be 2.18 and 0.72 Tg C yr-1 representing 17.4% and 5.8% of the total 2006 CO2 equivalent emissions generated from the agricultural sector in Spain. This is a significant estimate that would help to achieve GHG emissions targets for the current commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.