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Understanding intensified and integrated production systems: from the quantum world to low-carbon agriculture

Abstract

This proposal focuses on Brazilian agriculture potential to greenhouse gas emissions reduction and carbon sequestration, with emphasis in integrated production systems and sustainable management practices. To achieve this goal, two long-term field experiments of integrated crop-livestock-forest systems will be utilized. These experiments are pioneers in the state of São Paulo and have been in operation for more than 10 years at Embrapa Southeast Catle. One experiment includes eucalyptus planting, while the other involves native Cerrado trees. In addition, long-term experiments with well-managed pastures, some with more than 20 years of irrigation and rain-fed systems with different management techniques, including fertilization, intercropping with legumes, and new experiments with bio-inputs will be used. Furthermore, two other long-term field experiments from Unesp/FCA-Botucatu with crop-pasture integration systems, with grains (soybean and corn), different levels of liming and fertilization, and another with intercropping with legumes, of 21 and 17 years, respectively, will be evaluated.Private rural property areas will be monitored to expand adoption incentives, in addition to providing consistent recommendations for sustainable management and possibilities for achieving carbon neutrality for rural producers, cooperatives, rural extension institutions such as CATI, national and multinational companies, consultants, and others. The project will involve assessments and monitoring of carbon stocks in the soil and above-ground biomass, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, soil fertility and plant nutrition, and other indicators and parameters of the soil-plant-atmosphere system. Innovative analyses and research using advanced methods, especially spectroscopic, chromatographic, and imaging methods for quantifying carbon in the soil, will be carried out. The mechanisms of storage and stabilization of organic matter in the soil (SOM), including estimates of the carbon life span in the soil, will be explored. Mathematical modeling of carbon in the soil will be conducted using Century and CQSTER models. Advanced methods (quantum inspired) proposed are available in Brazil and abroad and will be used through international cooperation with researchers from the United States and Germany, such as isotopic analyses, 13C nuclear magnetic resonance, confocal laser scanning microscopy, Nano-secondary Ion Mass Spectra (NanoSIMS), electron probe microanalysis, high-resolution mass spectrometry using synchrotron radiation, among others. Additionally, a proof of concept is intended to be developed on the relationship between sustainability in production and the gain or loss of carbon in the soil, with the proposal of a dual-purpose indicator(s) that indicates in the short term whether the system is gaining or losing carbon and serves to gauge the sustainability of production. The project will involve creating a database, which will be hosted on an advanced computational structure at Embrapa Agriculture Digital in Campinas/SP, and will be publicly accessible, ensuring that the scientific community and public policymakers have access to the available data.This proposal builds on previous work, such as the Pecus Network Project and the thematic project for assessing GHG emissions in livestock in Southeastern Brazil, supported by Fapesp n.2017/20084-5, which concludes in July this year, including enteric methane emission data from cattle. Other ongoing research and action initiatives with public and private institutions, such as the ILPF Network, Coopercitrus, CATI/SAESP, and others, will also be used in synergy to leverage the reach of the results of this proposal. (AU)

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