Growing crops on organic soils increases greenhouse gas emissions
Research has shown that growing crops in organic soils has a negative effect on the environment. This effect has been more evident with every passing year as more and more soils are being prepared for organic produce.
Organic soils are prepared with detritus plants and animals. This means that the soil has more carbon than regular soil. This organic matter is not broken down because since they naturally contain a lot of water, there is not really much oxygen left in the soil. Therefore, this organic matter, when drained and cultivated, will decompose and release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
This process is the result of hundreds of years of use of peat organic soils. This causes a settling of the soil and a decrease in the amount of carbon. This, of course, brings problems to future cultivations and leads to the necessity of re-draining the land.
There are vast tracts of land being cultivated in organic soils with organic matter that is not broken down but releases greenhouse gases instead.
The good news
Professor Jørgen E. Olesen of the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University says, “Reducing the emission from cultivated organic soils is an obvious choice to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions from agriculture.”
Taking organic soils out of rotation is suggested will reduce carbon emissions. Then, when soils are put aside, they cannot be worked on. This means less organic matter decomposing into greenhouse gases.
The land then is removed from any agricultural use. Besides this, a high water level in the soil is reestablished and the emissions of gases from it are reduced gradually.