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New CRP: Developing Climate Smart Agricultural Practices for Carbon Sequestration and Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases (D15020)

New Coordinated Research Project

Greenhouse gas measurement from rice fields in Viet Nam using a static chamber. (Photo: M. Zaman/IAEA)

The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture has launched a new five-year (2020-2025) Coordinated Research Project (CRP), titled ‘Developing Climate Smart Agricultural practices for carbon sequestration and mitigation of greenhouse gases’ (D15020). Potential collaborators interested in undertaking research in this area are invited to apply to take part. This CRP’s first Research Coordination Meeting is expected to take place in Q3, 2020 in Vienna, Austria.


It has been estimated that, by 2050, a 70% increase over current agricultural production will be required from existing natural resources of land and water to meet the increasing demand for food (e.g. dairy and meat products) from the fast-growing population in developed and developing economies. This will lead to more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Agriculture production is both a contributor to climate change and a victim of climate variability (heat, drought, changing rainfall patterns and other extreme events), which can cause major damage in terms of crop failure, soil erosion, fast decomposition of organic matter, and overall nutrients cycling. Thus, the development and validation of climate-smart agricultural practices are required to ensure food security while minimizing GHG emissions.

Climate Change related to the increasing emission of greenhouse gases is a global threat.  Direct and indirect GHG emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land-uses changes contribute approximately 25% of the global anthropogenic GHG emissions. The GHGs with largest global warming potential are nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4), which predominantly originate from agriculture. Based on the outputs of a previous, related CRP (D1.50.16), climate-smart agricultural practices provide a suite of promising tools that can enhance crop production with lower GHG emissions.

However, more quantitative data on the effect of soil processes, such as carbon and nitrogen dynamics, on emissions of GHGs in relation to land-use changes are urgently needed. Many farming practices such as soil cultivation, application of nitrogen fertilizers, animal manure, crop residues, excreta from grazing livestock, and converting peatland to arable agriculture lead to GHG emissions into the atmosphere.

CRP Overall Objective:

To develop and validate climate-smart agricultural practices, based on isotopic and related techniques, to increase soil carbon sequestration (based on carbon budgeting), mitigate GHG emissions (N2O, CH4, CO2) and limit gaseous losses of ammonia (NH3) and dinitrogen (N2) from agricultural ecosystems, with the aim of enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability.

Specific Research Objectives

1.1. To determine carbon budgets based on the quantification of carbon fluxes (CO2 and CH4) using nuclear and related techniques and devise soil carbon sequestration strategies in selected agroecosystems.

1.2. To quantify N2O and N2 emissions using 15N technique to validate agricultural system-specific emission factors (EF).

1.3. To evaluate the effect of nitrogen process inhibitors and biochar on soil nitrogen transformation rates using 15N tracing technique and to test their N2O mitigation potential within specific agroecosystems (soil, plant and climate).

1.4. To develop guidelines on climate-smart agriculture practices for carbon sequestration, mitigation of GHG and improved nitrogen use efficiency.

How to join this CRP

Proposals must be received no later than 15 April 2020. Please submit your Proposal for Research Contract or Agreement by email to the IAEA’s Research Contracts Administration Section, using the appropriate template on the CRA website.

For further information related to this CRP, potential applicants should use the contact form under the CRP page.


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