Global Assessment of Soil Carbon in Grasslands

  • IASbaba
  • February 24, 2023
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Context: FAO(Food and Agricultural Organization) published its first Global Assessment of Soil Carbon in Grasslands.

Key Findings:

  • The study found that if the SOC content in the 0–30 cm depth layer of available grasslands increased by 0.3 percent after 20 years of the application of management practices that enhance soil organic carbon sequestration, 0.3 tonnes C/ha per year could be sequestered.
  • Grasslands contain approximately 20 percent of the world’s SOC
  • Grasslands have suffered losses because of human activities such as intensive livestock grazing, agricultural activities, and other land-use activities.
  • Most of the world’s grasslands have a positive carbon balance, meaning the land is stable or well-maintained.

About Grasslands:

  • Grasslands are areas dominated by grasses.
  • Distribution: Grasslands are found in areas having well-defined hot and dry, warm and rainy seasons.
  • Grasslands can majorly be divided into two parts:
  • Tropical Grasslands – Savannah, Campos, and Llanos
  • Temperate Grasslands- Pampas, Prairie, Veld, Steppe, and Down

Significance of Grasslands :

  • Farmers who keep cattle or goats, as well as shepherds who keep sheep, are highly dependent on grasslands.
  • Domestic animals are grazed in the ‘common’ land of the village.
  • Fodder is collected and stored to feed cattle when there is no grass left for them to graze in summer.
  • The grass is also used to thatch houses and farm sheds.
  • The thorny bushes and branches of the few trees that are seen in grasslands are used as a major source of fuelwood.
  • Nutrient cycling (biogeochemical cycles)
  • Ecological succession or ecosystem development

Distribution across the World :


Previous Year Questions

Q.1) If rainforests and tropical forests are the lungs of the Earth, then surely wetlands function as its kidneys.” Which one of the following functions of wetlands best reflects the above statement? (2022)

  1. The water cycle in wetlands involves surface runoff, subsoil percolation and evaporation.
  2. Algae form the nutrient base upon which fish, crustaceans, molluscs, birds, reptiles and mammals thrive.
  3. 58 15 Wetlands play a vital role in maintaining sedimentation balance and soil stabilization.
  4. Aquatic plants absorb heavy metals and excess nutrients.

Q.2) The vegetation of savannah consists of grassland with scattered small trees. The forest development in such areas is generally kept in check by one or more or a combination of some conditions. (2021)

Which of the following are such conditions?

  1. Burrowing animals and termites
  2. Fire
  3. Grazing herbivores
  4. Seasonal rainfall
  5. Soil properties

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 4 and 5 only
  3. 2, 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 3 and 5 only

Q.3) Which of the following leaf modifications occur(s) in the desert areas to inhibit water loss? (2018)

  1. Hard and waxy leaves
  2. Tiny leaves
  3. Thorns instead of leaves

Select the correct answer using the code given below

  1. 2 and 3 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3


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