The carbon footprint is a tool that measures the amount of gases ( GHG , greenhouse gases ) emitted to the atmosphere derived from the activities of production or consumption of goods and services.

Measuring the Carbon Footprint (MHC) , is to collect data that comes from the direct and indirect consumption of the products and energy of an organization and convert them into CO2 emissions to have an inventory of emissions.

In this article we will discuss the pros and cons of agriculture in the carbon footprint.

Gases that give rise to the carbon footprint

The atmosphere is a fluid made up of different types of gases. Some of these gases absorb solar radiation and make a dome-like effect like a greenhouse roof that retains heat and allows for an adequate temperature to support life on earth.

The problem is if the emission is higher than what is considered a natural emission. Emissions of synthetic origin that cause excessive heating. That leads to climate change.

Kyoto Protocol is the protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and an international agreement that aims to reduce emissions of eight greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

According to this protocol, the greenhouse gases are:

Gases efecto invernadero en la huella del carbono

Agriculture and gas emission

Agriculture is estimated to have between 25% and 30% impact on greenhouse gas emissions. But precision and sustainable agriculture reduces this percentage.

Main sources of emissions from agriculture-related agents that affect the carbon footprint:Efecto de la agricultura en la huella del carbono

Also worth noting:

  1. Soil tillage influences the dynamics of organic matter: changes the humidity and temperature conditions of the soil, incorporates the residues and breaks the soil structure periodically. In such a way that the loss of organic matter by mineralization is usually accelerated, which usually corresponds to a greater CO2 emission from the soil to the atmosphere (Álvaro-Fuentes et al., 2008).
  2. Irrigation of crops influences the CO2 flux dynamics of soils , so that a decrease in the amounts of water provided to them is expected to decrease CO2 flux rates from the ground, which mitigates global warming.

Increased carbon dioxide

In the diagram we indicate the different ways of absorbing carbon dioxide and eliminating it again into the atmosphere, both by plants and by eroded lands, especially dry and lacking organic matter and by the oceans. Ciclo del carbono-agricultura de precisión

The balance is broken when due to industry, big cities and eroded lands, CO2 emission increases and breaks the natural cycle.

This also increases desert areas and increasingly increases the carbon footprint. Avoiding desertification and reducing emissions is urgent and fundamental.

Precision agriculture reduces the carbon footprint

As we can see in the table above there are many factors of the agricultural process that influence the carbon footprint. But other factors may mitigate this increase.

Precision agriculture can help reduce the carbon footprint by improving soil organic matter ( MOS ) and retaining soil organic carbon ( COS >). Precision agriculture optimizes land management based on your needs.

  • Increase agricultural areas with sustainable agriculture.
  • Reduce the use of chemical fertilizers to a minimum , sulfates, nitrates and following the advice of specialists. Use only when necessary and in its fair amount. Exchange them for organic fertilizers as much as possible.
  • Control the use of phytosanitary , try to avoid the disease with humidity and temperature controls to avoid having to treat possible pests.
  • Make maps of the soil to assess its composition and texture and thus add the nutrients it needs depending on the type of crop.
  • Images satellite that indicate various factors such as temperature, humidity and crop status. We can assess the area that needs specific treatment.
  • Studies with drones of the crop that indicate the needs of each crop and can prevent us from the appearance of pests that are eradicated at the beginning. Weed control.
  • Install humidity sensors Plantae that help optimize irrigation with water and energy savings. These sensors also avoid the water stress of the plants and favor photosynthesis that absorbs CO2 and favors the carbon footprint, preventing the closure of stomata during photosynthesis. They also avoid waterlogging that can lead to the appearance of fungi in the root system.
  • Plantae conductivity sensors to measure soil salinity.
  • Subsoil temperature sensors Plantae that help prevent the onset of disease and thus avoid the use of pesticides.
  • Use the appropriate machinery with emission reductions.

agricultura de precisión para reducir la huella del carbonoIncidence of ecological and precision agriculture in the soil

The promotion of precision agriculture positively influences the organic matter of the soil, achieving a biodiversity that favors:

  • The availability of nutrients for plants and therefore improves the quality of their fruits.
  • It favors the flow of carbon from the atmosphere to the ground.
  • It improves soil structure.
  • It favors pest control.
  • Improves the root system of the plant, therefore its nutrition.
  • The environmental impact is reduced.

Recommendations that favor soil organic carbon

  • Use ground covers that prevent evaporation because more moisture is retained.
  • Promote organic fertilizers , taking advantage of the residues of crops and animal manure.
  • Practice the fallow , allowing the land to rest so that it regenerates and rests.
  • Rotate crops , avoiding wear and tear on the ground because not all spend the same nutrients.
  • Reduce tillage to prevent carbon from returning to the atmosphere.
  • direct sowing on the stubble to avoid disturbing the soil with the plow.
  • Avoid runoff . This is favored with drip irrigation, avoiding water losses, especially on sloping terrain.
  • Favor the contrast of trees, cattle and pastures . This makes the system more sustainable and improves productivity in an ecological way.

Disminuir la huella del carbono