Soil carbon sequestration in dryland agriculture

Muhammad Shakeel Arshad*, Muhammad Sanaullah, Muhammad Farooq

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


Drylands are the part of terrestrial ecosystem characterized by low water and spans over an area of about 6.15 billion hectares. About 57-65 % of this area is desertified or prone to desertification. In spite of low soil organic carbon (SOC), the total SOC stock in dryland soils is 241 Pg (1 Pg = petagram =1015 g) which is 15.5 % of the global SOC pool (1550 Pg). Significant C losses (~20-30 Pg) occur due to low C input as a result of desertification. About two third of this loss can be sequestered through better management practices in the period of next 50 years. In this chapter, our major focus is to discuss the biophysical aspects of soil C sequestration and their impact on global climate change and food security in dryland areas. Management and other land use practices for SOC sequestration to combat land degradation in drylands, such as afforestation using suitable species, management of pasture on grazing lands, management of cultivated lands, and restorative land use to reestablish the degraded soils and the ecosystems. In drylands, tree species suited for afforestation are Acacia, Mesquite and Neem etc. Grazing management practices such as controlled grazing at an optimal carrying capacity, fire management, and the cultivation of improved species. Suitable practices for soil management are application of biosolids (manure, sludge) to improve the macrofauna (termites) of the soil, water harvesting, use of vegetative mulches, and wise irrigation structures.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInnovations in Dryland Agriculture
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783319479286
ISBN (Print)9783319479279
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Carbon sequestration
  • Drylands
  • Management
  • Soil organic carbon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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