Using soil to reduce carbon load on climate

By Peter Kent

Clemson researcher conducting soil researchSoils play a vital role in dealing with the environmental impacts of rising atmospheric carbon levels — primarily carbon dioxide — from natural and human activities.

As carbon is released through fossil-fuel burning and changing land use, scientists are seeking a more accurate understanding of carbon storage and cycling. Soil is second only to the oceans as a carbon sink: pools into which more carbon flows in than out.

Clemson natural resources scientists are studying soil types and ranking them on their ability to hold carbon and prevent it from returning to the atmosphere for eons.

“Formation of new carbonate minerals in soils represents a pathway by which atmospheric (carbon dioxide) can be sequestered,” said Elena Mikhailova, research team leader.

Further studies will measure and profile the soil carbon characteristics and identify regional distribution to develop predictive models for future soil inorganic carbon research.

For information: Elena Mikhailova, 864-656-3535,