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A comparative examination of the efficiency of sequestering carbon in US agricultural soils

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2009

John M. Antle
Affiliation:
Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59715
Susan M. Capalbo
Affiliation:
Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59715
Siân Mooney*
Affiliation:
Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59715
Edward T. Elliott
Affiliation:
School of Natural Resource Sciences, University of Nebraska, Box 830758, Lincoln NE 68583
Keith H. Paustian
Affiliation:
Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523.
*
S. Mooney (smooney@montana.edu).
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Abstract

This paper demonstrates the need to integrate biophysical and economic data to assess the competitiveness of US agriculture to provide soil carbon (C) and participate in a market for C credits. The paper discusses alternative methods of calculating the costs of soil C sequestration and compares the cost of sequestering soil C in Iowa and Montana. Results indicate that the opportunity cost per Mg of sequestered C varies in response to regional resource endowments and net returns. Economic models show that Montana could sequester a relatively small amount of soil C annually at a lower opportunity cost per Mg than Iowa, but Iowa can sequester larger quantities more efficiently. These results are compared with estimates of the cost of C sequestration from other domestic and international studies, and suggest that US agriculture could be competitive in domestic or international markets for C reduction credits.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2002

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