Acquisition of Essential Data for Assessments of Carbon Sequestration by Soils

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Resource or Project Abstract

The major aim of this project was to provide seminal information about the nature and associations of the organic matter (OM) in Irish soils and in drainage waters with a view to establishing the extent to which Irish soils could act as sinks for carbon. It was hoped that the data could lead to the establishment of workable models for carbon sequestration in soils. The mineral soils studied are representative of some of the major soil types in Ireland. A selection was made of both long-term grassland soils and of paired soils (i.e. soils that have been in long-term cultivation and adjacent soils that are in long-term grassland). Because of the importance of soils as sinks for carbon, and because it may be necessary to relate Irish soils to others in the context of carbon sequestration, comparisons were made with selected major soil types from outside Ireland. These soils included the International Humic Substances Society (IHSS) soil standard (a Mollisol, considered to be among the world?s most fertile soils) and a Ferrisol under native forest, in grassland, and under cultivation. The latter helps in understanding how the soil organic matter (SOM) will associate with hydroxides which are known to be associated with clays in some Irish soils. Report No. 6 of the project (July-December, 2004) described the inclusion of a Terra Preta soil from the Amazon region. The Terra Pretas, or ADEs (i.e. Amazonian dark earths), are highly fertile soils found among soils of very low fertility that are characteristic of the Amazonian tropical rainforest. Char accumulations in ADEs are considered to be the source of the fertility. The project team had become aware of amazing growth enhancements for maize (Zea mays L.) in the University of Georgia that had resulted from amendments with chars from peanut hulls. Mollisols of the Mid-West USA partially owe their great fertility to accumulations of chars in ancient times. These observations have relevance to the current project because char additions to soil resist degradation and allow carbon credits to be made.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Prof. Michael Hayes
University of Limerick

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Data, Files, Information Objects Related To This Project Resource

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Offline Print Quality Version    STRIVE_58_Hayes_OrganicCarbon_prn.pdf  (2.24 Mb)
Project Report Optimised For Online Viewing    STRIVE_58_Hayes_OrganicCarbon_web.pdf  (1.43 Mb)
Att 3    SampleLocations-Hayes-2001.pdf   (0.06 Mb)

Suggested Citation Information

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Author(s)Hayes, M.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationAcquisition of Essential Data for Assessments of Carbon Sequestration by Soils
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifier1a1f4187-5342-102e-a0a4-f81fb11d7d1c
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-07-21

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Hayes, M.   "Acquisition of Essential Data for Assessments of Carbon Sequestration by Soils". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-07-21)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource KeywordsCarbon Sequestration Soils organic matter
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2001-CD/S1-M2
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeLand-use, Soils, and Transport
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceAny 3rd party usage must properly cite the original authors of this report. A citation is provided below. The original authors can be contacted in relation to other data and outputs associated with this project which are mentioned in the report.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 3
Project Start Date Monday 1st January 2001 (01-01-2001)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Monday 1st January 2001 (01-01-2001)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Thursday 1st January 2009 (01-01-2009)
Published on SAFERTuesday 7th December 2010 (07-12-2010)
Date of Last EditThursday 3rd March 2011 at 14:21:12 (03-03-2011)
Datasets or Files Updated On Tuesday 7th December 2010 at 11:14:03 (07-12-2010)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
Drainage waters were studied from the battery of lysimeters at Johnstown Castle Wexford Ireland from: ? Elton soil; ? Clonroche soil; ? Rathangan soil; ? Castlecomer soil; ? Oak Park soil. Waters were also examined from the field lysimeters at Johnstown Castle for the: ? Elton ? Rathangan; and ? Clonakilty soils. Finally, drainage waters were studied from: ? Forested Blanket peat soil, Moycullen, Co. Galway; ? Drainage from non-forested peat, Moycullen; ? Drainage waters from Blanket peat, Nad, Co. Cork; ? Drainage water from Blanket peat at EPA/UCC, Glencar, Kerry site.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
The overall aim of this project was to provide seminal information about the nature and the associations of the organic matter (OM) in Irish soils with a view to establishing a better awareness of the extents to which different Irish soil types are sinks for carbon (C), and of the ways in which changes in management procedures might alter the capacities of the soils as carbon sinks. An understanding of the compositions of the soil organic matter (SOM) components in different Irish soils, of aspects of the structures of these components, and of the ways in which these are associated with each other and with the inorganic soil colloids, is of fundamental importance to allow predictions of how the SOM in different soils will react to environmental changes. Ireland has more carbon sequestered in its soils per head of population than any other country in the EU (with the possible exception of Finland). It gets no credit for this. It can be argued that the carbon released in the long-term cultivations by other member countries is fossil C, and account should be taken of Irish stores in any carbon accrediting. The Irish case can be made more convincing should a comprehensive awareness of the SOM reserves be obtained.
Supplementary Information
The project has been greatly aided by the award of a Walsh Fellow studentship grant. This brought the University of Limerick team into collaboration with Drs Deirdre Fay and Karl Richards of Teagasc, Johnstown Castle, and provided access to soil samples at 10 cm intervals in three soil profiles in the new lysimeter studies of grassland soils at Johnstown Castle, and to the drainage waters from these soils. Dr Gary Lanigan at Johnstown Castle is the current co-supervisor of the Walsh Fellow, Corinna Byrne. The project has also been aided by the award of an IRCSET post-doctoral fellowship to Dr Etelvino Novotny who has carried out a number of the nuclear magnetic resonance studies of vital importance to the project.

Eight detailed Interim Reports were submitted throughout the life of the current project. These contained extensive accounts of the large variety of techniques applied and of the results obtained.

Previously, most studies of SOM have focused on the OM in the surface horizons. Here, the compositions of the OM to depths of 1 m in three different grassland soils, and the abundances of the OM at depths up to 1 m in several soils were examined. This generated detailed data on how the contents of the SOM change with depth, and of how the compositions change.

Modelling studies were not carried out. The data have shown that the OM contents and compositions vary between different soil types, and the contents and compositions also vary with the soil mineralogy and with the depth in the soil profile. It was concluded that more extensive data are needed before reliable models dealing with SOM reserves can be made.

**Other Authors of this Report**
Corinna J.M.P. Byrne, Julieta A. Ferreira, Etelvino H. Novotny, Guixue Song - SEE
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