Carbon Sequestration

Research related to carbon sequestration explores options for reducing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, particularly using economic incentives in the agricultural sector to sequester carbon.

Relevant Projects

Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases (CASMGS)

As part of this multi-institutional project, CARD researchers have teamed up with scientists outside of the discipline of economics to do in-depth analysis on several aspects related to carbon sequestration, including the following:

  • Elucidating fundamental processes controlling the dynamic cycling of soil organic matter (SOM) to provide a basis for improving existing SOM models that predict the impact of management on changes in the long-term storage of C in SOM
  • Understanding farmers’ decisions on adoption of various greenhouse gas friendly cropland practices
  • Developing regional and national policy impact and cost-benefit assessment tools
  • Quantifying the costs of monitoring compliance with land-management contracts at three spatial scales (1:8,000, 1:16,000, 1:32,000) and by multiple verification techniques (ground-truth measurements, ground-level visual inspection, and air-photo inspection)
  • Developing outreach programs, in coordination with the Cooperative Extension Service, to share information on the carbon cycle and agricultural best management practices that will be useful to agricultural producers and other interested groups

Command-and-control policy instruments versus market-based instruments for the provision of environmental goods
Researchers at CARD are currently assessing command-and-control policy instruments versus market-based instruments for the provision of environmental goods. The purpose is to investigate, after the fact, which policies would have been cheaper to provide the same amount of environmental goods and/or would have provided more environmental goods given the same funding. We will evaluate carbon sequestration as one of the environmental goods.

Journal Publications

  • Kurkalova, Lyubov A. 2005. Carbon Sequestration in Agricultural Soils: Discounting for Uncertainty. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics 53: 375-384
  • Feng, Hongli, and Catherine L. Kling. 2005. The Consequences of Co-benefits for the Efficient Design of Carbon Sequestration Programs. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics 53: 461-476
  • Feng, Hongli, Jinhua Zhao, and Catherine L. Kling. 2001. Carbon: The Next Big Cash Crop? Choices--The Magazine of Food, Farm, and Resource Issues, Second Quarter 2001.


  • Effect of Potential Future Climate Change on Cost-Effective Nonpoint Source Pollution Reduction Strategies in the UMRB. Manoj Jha, Philip Gassman, Gene Takle, Catherine Kling, Sergey Rabotyagov, November 2009.
  • Costs and Environmental Gains from Conservation Programs. Catherine L. Kling. Presented at the ISU Agricultural Policy Summit, July 2005.
  • Co-benefits from Conservation Policies that Promote Carbon Sequestration in Agriculture: The Corn Belt. Hongli Feng, Luba Kurkalova, Philip Gassman, Catherine Kling, and Silvia Secchi. Presented at the Forestry and Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Modeling Forum, Shepherdstown, WV, October 2004.
  • Trade-off of Carbon Sequestration through Land Retirement versus Working Land. H. Feng, L. Kurkalova, and C. Kling. Presented at the CASMGS Forum, Texas A&M University, January 2004.
  • Spatial Targeting of a Green Payment Policy: A Simulation Framework for the Upper Mississippi River Basin Region. Catherine L. Kling, Lyubov A. Kurkalova, Silvia Secchi, and Philip W. Gassman. Poster. September 2003.
  • Alternative Green Payment Policies under Heterogeneity when Multiple Benefits Matter. J. Zhao, C.L. Kling, L.A. Kurkalova. Selected paper, presented at 2003 NAREA Workshop "Linkages between Agricultural and Conservation Policies," Portsmouth, NH, June 2003.
  • Estimation of a Discrete Choice Model When Individual Choices Are Not Observable. L.A. Kurkalova, S. Rabotyagov. Selected paper, presented at Midwest Economics Association meetings, St. Louis, MO, March 2003.
  • Costs and Environmental Effects from Conservation Tillage Adoption in Iowa. L.A. Kurkalova, C.L. Kling, and J. Zhao. Presented at the University of Toulouse, France, February 2003.
  • The Value of Accurate, Field-Scale, Soil Carbon Assessment Technology: Conservation Tillage in Iowa. L.A. Kurkalova, C.L. Kling, J. Zhao. Selected paper, presented at USDA Symposium on Natural Resource Management to Offset Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Raleigh, NC, November 2002.
  • Multiple Environmental Externalities of Conservation Tillage: Empirical Assessment of Practice and Performance Based Targeting. L.A. Kurkalova, C.L. Kling, J. Zhao. Selected paper, presented at the 2nd World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists, Monterey, CA, June 2002.
  • Revealed Premium in the Adoption of Conservation Tillage. L.A. Kurkalova, C.L. Kling, J. Zhao. Selected paper, presented at AAEA Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, August 2001.