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Greenhouse Gases

Soil plays significant roles in the cycling of three major greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Land management practices that increase the amount of carbon (organic matter) stored in soil are reducing the amount of CO2 released to the atmosphere. Microorganisms in poorly aerated soils, such as in rice paddies or wetlands, produce methane as they decompose organic matter. Nitrous oxide is a product of denitrificationA process occurring naturally in soil, where bacteria break down nitrates to give nitrogen gas, which returns to the atmosphere. in soil. As well as being a greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide (N2O) depletes stratospheric ozone.

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