Soils & Global Change: Science and Impacts
The Earth system is undergoing continuous changes, which have profound impacts on soils and soil processes, as well as on the capacity of soils to support demand for food, fibre and energy. Soils and climate change are tightly linked in a series of feedback mechanisms for which understanding is critical to wisely manage the world soils and adapt to the effects of climate changes.
This course provides students with state-of-the-art knowledge on the effects of current global environmental changes, from the increase of atmospheric CO2 and climate change to N deposition, loss of biodiversity, land use change, increase fire frequency, etc. on soil processes and biota, and the field and laboratory methods currently available to study those effects. Soil management options to mitigate climate change, as well as the effects of biofuel crops on soils are also discussed. The course is delivered through in-person lectures, laboratory activities, and field trips.
Greenhouse Gas Mitigation, Land Use and Management
Agriculture and other land uses are significant sources of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, thus contributing to climate change. In the United States, agriculture is the largest anthropogenic source of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), greenhouse gases that are about 20 and 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2), respectively. However, appropriate management practices can mitigate these emissions and even store carbon within the ecosystem.
Students will gain in-depth knowledge of GHG emission sources from land use and management, the significance of land use-related GHG emissions with respect to total anthropogenic emissions and the potential for emission reductions and C sequestration as a climate change mitigation strategy. This class focuses on developing knowledge and skills required for estimating emission rates for GHG sources and developing measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification systems through lectures and hands on laboratories.