Carbon Sequestration is a natural process of green plant growth, death and decay.
Green plants have the ability to make and store their own energy, carbohydrates, using sunlight, carbon dioxide from the air and water & minerals from the soil, in a reaction called photosynthesis. Carbohydrates are stored in plants above the soil surface in leaves, stems and seeds and also below the soil surface in roots, rhizomes and tubers. When roots decay, most of the carbon stored in them remains in the soil until the soil is disturbed. The natural process of removing carbon dioxide from the air and storing that carbon in vegetation or in the soil is called carbon sequestration.
The Grass Advantage
Grasses sequester good amounts of CO2 in as little as 60-90 days after planting. Many grasses are perennials. Perennial grasses produce a crop annually but do not need to be planted every year. Many grassy & herbaceous plants need defoliation to grow optimally and to sequester maximum amounts of carbon. Two important advantages grasses have over trees for carbon sequestration are:
1. Amounts of above ground biomass are easily measured and are accurate bio-indicators of below ground biomass, which directly equates to measurable amounts of sequestered, persistent carbon in the soil; and
2. Grassy & herbaceous plants are easily manipulated to accumulate amounts of sequestered carbon above baseline calculations.
The U.S. has about 942,000,000 acres of crop and grass lands. This land mass will be able to sequester more than a billion tons of carbon annually under certain conditions, using forthcoming technology. Managing grassy and herbaceous plants to maximize carbon sequestration on crop and grassland gives the landowner a new source of income in addition to the income received from producing traditional agricultural commodities such as grain, fruit, meat and milk.