Researchers at the University of Turku in Finland have found that by making adjustments to agricultural practices, such as reducing pesticide pollution and adjusting harvesting intensity, crop yield and carbon sequestration can be improved while contributing to climate change mitigation. Soil properties play a crucial role in determining plant quality, including resilience against environmental stressors and resistance to pests and diseases. The drive to maximize crop production has resulted in agricultural intensification and the use of synthetic agrochemicals, which has led to a decline in plant resilience, crop yields, and soil quality, creating a greater need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The researchers aimed to find a way to enhance carbon sequestration in soil and increase plant resilience and crop yield while reducing carbon emissions. By reducing mowing intensity and cutting the plants higher, the overall yield of the pasture increased and the plants developed larger roots, indicating a higher level of carbon sequestration into the soil. The research also showed that pesticide residues in soil have a negative impact on root growth, limiting carbon sequestration and plant productivity. The findings suggest that reducing pesticides will improve root growth and plant resilience, leading to increased carbon sequestration and storage in soil, ultimately contributing to climate change mitigation.
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