A comparative examination of the efficiency of sequestering carbon in US agricultural soils

John M. Antle, Susan M. Capalbo, Siân Mooney, Edward T. Elliott, Keith H. Paustian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This paper demonstrates the need to integrate biophysical and economic data to assess the competitiveness of US agriculture to provide soil carbon (C) and participate in a market for C credits. The paper discusses alternative methods of calculating the costs of soil C sequestration and compares the cost of sequestering soil C in Iowa and Montana. Results indicate that the opportunity cost per Mg of sequestered C varies in response to regional resource endowments and net returns. Economic models show that Montana could sequester a relatively small amount of soil C annually at a lower opportunity cost per Mg than Iowa, but Iowa can sequester larger quantities more efficiently. These results are compared with estimates of the cost of C sequestration from other domestic and international studies, and suggest that US agriculture could be competitive in domestic or international markets for C reduction credits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-115
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Alternative Agriculture
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon credits
  • Carbon reduction credits
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Economics of carbon sequestration
  • Soil carbon storage
  • US agriculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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