and their root system all contain carbon.
This figure outlines interactions of plants with the atmosphere and
soils. Growing plants absorb carbon and transport it to the soil via their
roots. Decaying plant material produces
carbon dioxide which is released to the atmosphere. Some remains in
the soil. Large quantities have been trapped in the soil over long times.
Agriculture tends to release some of it to the atmosphere.
are already involved in trying to better understand the part of the carbon
cycle related to plants interaction with our soil.
practices are cited as one means of capturing carbon from the atmosphere and
returning it to the soil. Research is underway in to better manage animal
wastes. The lumber we take from forests and build into our houses is also a
sink for carbon.
|So far this
developing science is fraught with uncertainty. How much of the organic
material left on the land is incorporated in soil? How long will it stay
there? How long will lumber in houses endure.
|Could we modify
our treatment of wastes now going to landfills and sewers to return the
carbon to the soil?
|Can we use our
knowledge to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and build soil