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Soil carbon stocks on land use - change process to sugar cane production in South-Center Brazil


Energy crops have expanded significantly in Brazil. Between 2000 and 2009 nearly three million hectares of sugar cane were incorporated into the existing production system, transforming it into the main source of renewable energy. It is estimated that another 11 million ha are necessary to achieve the Brazilian projections of production, consumption and exports of ethanol by 2020. Considering the greenhouse gases (GHG) balance, the use of sugar cane ethanol shows reductions of up to 80% when compared to fossil fuels. However, when direct land use change (LUC) emissions are accounted, sugar cane expansion can promote the "carbon debt", causing long periods of carbon losses repay. These factors can modify sugarcane expansion dynamics which occurs at a higher intensity over low productive pastures trough South-Center Brazil. Assessments of LUC impact on soil organic matter (SOM) can result in GHG emissions or even carbon sequestration as show several scientific studies. In this respect we can report that little efforts have been researched specifically to sugar cane production. Thus, the main objective of this research project is to assess the impacts of sugar cane cultivation on SOM and its results in GHG emissions, or carbon sequestration considering land use changes in South-Center Brazil. To achieve these objectives, will be sampled soil, roots and phytomass in representative sites in referred region considering IPCC (2006) methodology for GHG inventories. Until present moment, twenty five priority sites were established to develop this study along Brazilian states of Sao Paulo, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná e Minas Gerais. It's expected that results of this project will establish the impact factor of land use change and their consequences to GHG emissions or soil carbon sequestration as well all associated uncertainties. This information can be used as scientific basis for Agribusiness decisions makers, in a way that sugar cane expansion may result in a low, or none, environmental impact. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
SILVA-OLAYA, ADRIANA M.; CERRI, CARLOS E. P.; WILLIAMS, STEPHEN; CERRI, CARLOS C.; DAVIES, CHRISTIAN A.; PAUSTIAN, KEITH. Modelling SOC response to land use change and management practices in sugarcane cultivation in South-Central Brazil. PLANT AND SOIL, v. 410, n. 1-2, p. 483-498, . (11/07105-7)
MELLO, FRANCISCO F. C.; CERRI, CARLOS E. P.; DAVIES, CHRISTIAN A.; HOLBROOK, N. MICHELE; PAUSTIAN, KEITH; MAIA, STOECIO M. F.; GALDOS, MARCELO V.; BERNOUX, MARTIAL; CERRI, CARLOS C.. Payback time for soil carbon and sugar-cane ethanol. NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE, v. 4, n. 7, p. 605-609, . (11/07105-7)
SILVA-OLAYA, A. M.; DAVIES, C. A.; CERRI, C. E. P.; ALLEN, D. J.; MELLO, F. F. C.; CERRI, C. C.. Quantifying above and belowground biomass carbon inputs for sugar-cane production in Brazil. SOIL RESEARCH, v. 55, n. 7, p. 640-648, . (11/07105-7)

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