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Seminar by Pedro Luiz Oliveira de Almeida Machado and Beata Madari, Embrapa - Brazil

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25 October 2017
at Craigiebuckler Boardroom, Aberdeen
for scientists, researchers and other interested parties

Brazilian Agriculture: the key role of science and the need for international cooperation - Pedro Luiz Oliveira de Almeida Machado

Integrated crop-livestock-forestry systems as potential carbon sinks - Beata Madari

Hosted by Mike Rivington, Information and Computational Sciences

Pedro’s Abstract:

An overview of explosion of agricultural production over the last 40 years. From a country which was not food secure in the 1970s, Brazil has become not only self-sufficient but one of the largest exporters of food globally. Knowledge base agriculture is essential in the search for a more sustainable farming and meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, advancement is only possible with international cooperation.

Beata’s Abstract:

It describes Embrapa´s research network on GHG emissions mitigation/adaptation. I will talk about the potential of mixed farming systems in climate change mitigation. Our studies contribute to the evaluation of integrated crop-livestock (ICL) and crop-livestock-forestry (ICLF) production systems from the point of view of their potential for carbon (C) sequestration in the soil and in the production system as a whole.

The studies focused on soils in the Cerrado biome (a neotropical savanna) of Brazil and on a region considered as transition zone between the Cerrado and the Amazon biomes. The partial C balance was assessed through the net ecosystem exchange of nitrous oxide (N2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The soil C stock was assessed to 1 m depth, measuring total C and N and d13C.

The main findings were that pasture grass for beef-cattle in rotation with annual crops (soybean, upland rainfed rice and maize) in integrated systems had a net negative balance of Ceq emission, resulting in net C accumulation in the system. This is in contrast to the partial balance of the grain production phase of ICL, which emitted Ceq to the atmosphere. Thus, the introduction of forage grasses and planning the duration of grain crop cultivation within the integrated system, may offset Ceq emissions during the annual crop phase. This balance is partial because it was still not possible to assess the contribution of methane (CH4) emission or removal by the production system. In the ICLF systems, trees showed a significant effect, not only on biomass, but also in the accumulation of total soil organic C. Carbon stocks of soils under the tree rows increased at 1-m depth compared to the time zero reference (degraded pasture). Results of the isotopic signature of the soil C showed that the forest component in ICLF had a significant effect in the soil organic matter build-up in a short term (3 years). The positive net accumulation potential for C in ICL and the accumulation of soil C under ICLF even in a short time, are additional evidences that support integrated systems as a way towards a more sustainable agriculture (soil C enhances soil fertility, system resilience and is an opportunity for ecosystem services) with lower C emissions in tropical ecosystems. On the bases of the results of the study we hope it will be possible to make adaptations in integrated systems to improve or optimize their performance in removing C from the atmosphere.

Pedro’s Biography:

Coordinator of the Embrapa Labex Europe Programme. He is an Agronomist, with a PhD in Soil Science University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (Boku) Vienna, Austria (1993) and Rothamsted International Fellow at the Agricultural and Environment Division of Rothamsted Research (1997). Under his administration as Director General of the Embrapa Rice and Beans Research Centre, in Brazil (2009-2013), low-carbon agriculture (ABC) including integrated crop-livestock-forestry systems, and biological nitrogen fixation for common beans was strongly promoted as part of the Brazilian ABC Plan. Also, the genetically-modified common bean resistant to Golden Mosaic disease was launched in Brazil, which represents a milestone in biotechnology in the country. At present, Dr. Machado is the Embrapa´s Representative in Europe leading the Embrapa Labex Programme. Embrapa-Labex Programme is a unique, innovative mechanism of Embrapa to foster international collaboration on cutting-edge topics of common interest with world-class scientific partners.

Beata’s Biography:

Beata Madari is agronomist (1994) with PhD (1999) in Soil Science from the Szent István University, Gödöllö, Hungary. She worked as researcher at Embrapa's National Soil Research Center between 2002 and 2005. Since 2005 she is a scientist at the Embrapa National Research Center for Rice and Beans and is Professor in post-graduate training at the Federal University of Goiás, Brazil. She is presently leader of the Embrapa Research Network on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Grain Crop Production Systems (Embrapa Fluxus Network). Accordingly, she has experience in carbon and nitrogen cycling in terrestrial ecosystems, particularly on tropical acid soils under annual crops, but also in integrated crop-livestock-forestry systems on soil carbon sequestration and carbon balance. She has knowledge on soil carbon dynamics and physical and chemical fractionation of soil organic matter. She has worked with methods of soil carbon determination using wet and dry combustion and infrared spectroscopy. She has also contributed to the IPCC on HWP, Wetlands and Soil N2O and to the UN Global Compact Initiative (unglobalcompactorg). She is member of the Scientific and Technical Committee of the 4 per 1000 Initiative and the Technical Advisory Group on Soil Carbon Stock Changes of the FAO Livestock Environmental Assessment Partnership. She is author or co-author of around 59 research articles.

If anyone would like to meet Pedro and Beata, please contact Mike Rivington to arrange a time.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.