Carbon Sequestration

What Is Carbon Sequestration?

The long-term storage and capturing of the atmospheric carbon dioxide in a stable state is known as “Carbon sequestration.” This process can be indirect or direct and physical, biological, geological, or chemical.

Carbon fixation is the process of chemical reactions in soil caused directly by a plant through inorganic CO2. In the wetlands, forests, oceans, and other ecosystems, there are biological processes that can hold this CO2. Carbon sinks is the name given to these uptake mechanisms, and you can learn more about these processes today.

How Is Carbon Sequestered?

When carbon is sequestered directly through the soil, Magnesium carbonate and calcium are created due to the reactions between inorganic carbon and CO2. When plants photosynthesize atmospheric CO2 into biomass, direct carbon sequestration occurs, meaning that instead of being released into the planet’s atmosphere, it is stored in carbon “sinks” in the grown.

During decomposition, some of a plant’s organic carbon (SOC) is indirectly sequestered into the soil. Productivity dynamics, successional stages, forest, and soil types all play a massive role in the amount of carbon sequestered at a project site. It was overlooked for years until the Earth started experiencing significant weather changes; that’s when scientists began to explore this topic more.

Furthermore, it can be challenging to determine carbon sequestration levels, but the most common calculation reflects the long-term balance between releasing mechanisms and carbon uptake. Many conservation practices and forestry can use carbon fixation in the soil to benefit financially.

There may be a viable source of revenue created through conservation projects that manage trust-owned land. In the future, as offset and account exchanges work on the SOC projects, there may be minor damage to our soil as we can dispel this emission.

Blue Carbon is a project planning to offset seagrass habitats in aquatic systems and wetlands. Several land trusts and conservational groups are implementing forest carbon projects to take advantage of this existing voluntary carbon.

Causes of Carbon Sequestration

sequestered carbon

Before the Industrial Revolution, the carbon flux or global carbon cycle maintained a near balance between its release back into the atmosphere and the uptake of CO2 sinks.

In the United States, it’s reported that there are about 1.6 gigatons of carbon and the existing uptake mechanism is insufficient to offset the accelerating emission. This is disastrous for our environment as most uptakes can only support around 0.4 gigatons and release around one gigaton per year.

Additional carbon input can be stored if best management practices are performed, such as wetland restorations, reforestation, and peat production. The problem is that humans are too busy with industrializing everything, increasing the difficulty.

Types of Carbon Sequestration

Biological Carbon Sequestration

It holds carbon molecules in flora like forests and grasslands and oceans and soils. The ocean absorbs roughly 25% of the carbon dioxide created by humans every year.

When the ocean releases carbon dioxide, it results in a positive flux, and conversely, when it absorbs carbon dioxide, it results in negative atmospheric instability.

In forests and rich plant landscapes like grasslands and rangelands, they absorb around 26% of the planet’s carbon emissions. When leaves, branches, and trees die and return to the soil, they release carbon dioxide during the process.

Through photosynthesis, plants can sequester carbon into the soil and cause what is known as carbon sinks. This process depletes and degrades the soil’s natural organic carbon levels plus causes damage to the agroecosystems under the Earth.

Luckily, carbon dioxide dissolves in H20 and percolates the soil over thousands of years, allowing it to be stored at carbonates. While soil’s organic matter stores carbon for a few decades, the carbonates are inorganic and can store carbon for thousands of years.

More carbon can be sequestered in grassland areas, especially when they experience a wildfire, and this is because the carbon stays fixed in the tree roots and not in the wood biomass or leaves. 

In most cases, the forest can store more carbon than grasslands, but grasslands have more resilience in unstable conditions like fires or climate change.

Geologic Carbon Sequestration

Geologic Carbon Sequestration

Other places where carbon is stored deep in the Earth are geologic formations, such as stones or rocks. Energy-related sources like natural gas or powerplant factories release carbon dioxide, and it is stored in porous rocks for the long term. 

Other industrial sources like cement or steel production businesses emit substantial carbon dioxide into our Earth. These companies do this because it allows the storage and capture of fossil fuels until a sustainable energy source is introduced.

Technological Carbon Sequestration

Scientists constantly explore this avenue, and it is a relatively new way of storing and capturing carbon dioxide. Innovative technology is involved in the process, and scientists are finding more efficient ways to use carbon dioxide.

Instead of removing it from the atmosphere and storing it somewhere, it can be more beneficial to the human race if this gas can be used. Below are some of the ideas that scientists have come up with to use carbon dioxide as a raw material.

  1. Graphene production
  2. Engineered molecules
  3. Direct air capture (DAC)

These processes are highly complex and intuitive, so they still cost quite a bit to perform, but this technology may become more price efficient with technological advancements.

The Benefits of Carbon Sequestration

Here are some of the benefits of carbon sequestration that improve the health of the area sequestered and benefit the environment significantly.

  • Improved soil health
  • Increased climate resilience
  • Reduced fertilizer use

These are just a few benefits of sequestering soils, but what about the disadvantage of having not sequestered land? These factors can be a massive downfall for large trust land management societies or natural conversation areas.

  • Saturation
  • Reversibility
  • Difficulty of measurement


Causes of Carbon Sequestration

Carbon Sequestration is vital to our environment and large natural land regions. The introduction of greenhouses gasses since the Industrial Revolution has caused the amount of carbon sequestration to increase.

Moreover, the extraction of these carbon sinks is imperative to maintaining our planet and controlling climate change. These emissions damage soils and create atmospheric disturbances that affect human populations and wildlife.

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