Results demonstrate that the effects of management on cropland can be beneficial for carbon and nutrient retention without risking (large) yield losses.
Nevertheless, effects on soil carbon are small compared with extant stocks in natural and semi-natural ecosystem types and managed forests.
While agricultural management can be targeted towards sustainable goals, from a climate change or carbon sink perspective avoiding deforestation or reforestation constitutes a far more effective overall strategy for maintaining and enhancing global carbon sinks.
However, enhanced carbon storage in agricultural soils could also be seen as a surrogate for enhanced soil structure and reduced erosion having additional (non-climate) environmental benefits.
[Adapted from author conclusions]