Turns Out, Organic Farming Can Save the World from Global Warming, Climate Change
Organic farming can reverse the agriculture ecosystem from a carbon source to a carbon sink.
|CREDIT: ©SCIENCE CHINA PRESS|
If going on the basis that greenhouse gas emissions are devastating the Earth, and that 35% of them come from agriculture; then we’re actually creating more problems by allowing Big Biotech, GMOs and exponential pesticide/chemical fertilizer use to spread unchecked. Based on this premise, these methods create more carbon release. Interestingly, organic farming turns that carbon source into a “carbon sink,” which means it absorbs more carbon than it releases.
From Science China Press:
To mitigate GHG emissions and retain soil fertility, organic agriculture might be a wise choice for decreasing the intensive use of synthetic fertilizers, protecting environments, and further improving crop yields. Recent research showed that replacing chemical fertilizer with organic manure significantly decreased the emission of GHGs. Organic farming can reverse the agriculture ecosystem from a carbon source to a carbon sink.
To explore the potential of farmlands acting as a carbon sink without yield losses, Jiang Gaoming, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Botany, conducted an experiment on a temperate eco-farm in eastern rural China. Crop residues were applied to cattle feed and the composted cattle manure was returned to cropland with a winter wheat and maize rotation. Crop yield and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were carefully calculated according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories 2006.
This study showed that replacing chemical fertilizer with organic manure significantly decreased the emission of GHGs. Yields of wheat and corn also increased as the soil fertility was improved by the application of cattle manure.
Totally replacing chemical fertilizer with organic manure decreased GHG emissions, which reversed the agriculture ecosystem from a carbon source (+ 2.7 t CO2-eq. hm-2 yr-1) to a carbon sink (- 8.8 t CO2-eq. hm-2 yr-1).
A previous study from China placed synthetic nitrogen fertilizer as a big culprit for GHG. Although they acknowledge its usefulness in agriculture, they also acknowledge the eco-side effects as well as their primary role as the world’s biggest purveyor of N fertilizer. When the study above used nothing but chemical fertilizer, researchers found much less yield, more GHG as well as degradation of soil quality.
They find that making full use of crop residues as forage for cattle, collecting and composting cattle manure, and replacing part of the chemical fertilizer input with organic manure have been successfully shown to be ideal choices to reduce energy waste and cut GHG emissions without crop yield losses.
Also see: Study Quantifies Market Value of Nature’s Farming Services
If their conclusions are correct, then this is just one more way to solve not only the big fear induced on the globe by notions of climate change (i.e. global warming), but also dispels myths of “not enough” resources to feed the world. And that can also quell manufactured fears of overpopulation.
The likes of Monsanto and DuPont love to use scarcity to scare people into acquiescence, claiming that they are the hunger saviors of the world. Not only has the opposite been shown by them in the last 20 years, but their methods are actually destroying those resources that they bank on being so rare.
What if the world knew the truth?
Read the paper here!
Haitao Liu, J.L., Xiao Li, Yanhai Zheng, Sufei Feng, Gaoming Jiang. 2015. Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through replacement of chemical fertilizer with organic manure in a temperate farmland. Science Bulletin, 60(6), 598-606.
Science China Press