Working Paper Review Version 2 This version is not peer-reviewed

Enhancing Natural Cycles in Agro-Ecosystems to Boost Plant Carbon Capture and Soil Storage

Version 1 : Received: 15 December 2020 / Approved: 16 December 2020 / Online: 16 December 2020 (08:42:53 CET)
Version 2 : Received: 3 March 2021 / Approved: 3 March 2021 / Online: 3 March 2021 (09:45:11 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: Oxford Open Climate Change 2021, 1, kgab006
DOI: 10.1093/oxfclm/kgab006


One of society’s greatest challenges is sequestering vast amounts of carbon to avoid dangerous climate change without driving competition for land and resources. Here we assess the potential of an integrated approach based on enhancement of natural biogeochemical cycles in agro-ecosystems that stimulate carbon capture and storage while increasing resilience and long-term productivity. The method integrates plant photosynthesis in the form of (cover) crops and agroforestry which drives carbon capture. Belowground plant-carbon is efficiently stored as stable soil organic carbon (SOC). Aboveground crop and tree residues are pyrolyzed into biochar, which is applied to the soil reducing carbon release through decomposition. Enhanced weathering of basalt powder worked into the soil further captures and stores carbon, while releasing nutrients and alkalinity. The integrated system is regenerative, through enhanced virtuous cycles that lead to improved plant capture, biomass storage and crop yield, the prerequisites for large-scale carbon sequestration along with food security.


carbon sequestration; biochar; soil carbon; basalt; enhanced weathering; agriculture


EARTH SCIENCES, Atmospheric Science

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 3 March 2021
Commenter: Wolfram Buss
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: The new version includes a few minor amendments to figures and text (e.g. update on data used for estimating biomass availability)
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