National Institute of Fundamental Studies

Project Description

Carbon can be stored via sequestration for hundreds to thousands of years reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Soils are considered as potentially important terrestrial carbon sinks to meet the CO2 emission reduction targets set by the Kyoto Protocol. This project is looking at minimizing carbon loss and maximizing the retention of carbon in soil. We are working on 3 sub projects.

Soil Carbon Sequestration in forest and tea plantations

Various ecosystems on earth contribute in Carbon sequestration, while forest ecosystems play a major role. Forest plantations are capable of sequestering carbon while providing many other benefits. Plantation forests were originally established in Sri Lanka to provide industrial timber and fuel wood but there are other uses such as wind protection, beekeeping, and extraction of oils, dyes etc. and invaluable ecosystem services. Eucalyptus grandis is one of the major plantation species in Sri Lanka. This study evaluates the contribution of these plantations on carbon sequestration and the method of enhancing sequestration through management. Simultaneously we will be studying carbon sequestration in agricultural plantations such as tea estates which provide economic benefits via carbon credits.

Home garden systems to optimize soil C sequestration

There is a great potential in storing Carbon in soils of home gardens in human settlements. After the decline of natural forests home gardens are the last remnants of land that is capable of capturing CO2 from the environment. Although estimates of carbon storage exist for forests and forest plantations, estimates of total carbon storage in home gardens of tropics are lacking. Home gardens of different species composition in Sri Lanka will be studied on soil C sequestration.

Land use and carbon sequestration in North Sri Lanka

The knowledge about the relationship between soil organic carbon fractions and available nutrients would yield valuable information in managing agricultural soils. The soil organic matter improves most of the physical, chemical and biological properties that favorably affect crop production. Since soil structure also influences sequestration of C, it is important to maintain soil structure to reduce the environmental impact of agricultural practices. In this research soil nutrient availability of different land uses in Jaffna peninsula will be carried out to study the effect of carbon fractions on nutrient availability and aggregate stability of these soils. Though there have been few studies regarding nutrient availability of macro nutrients, study of micro nutrients in soils of Jaffna peninsula is limited.

Assessment and Mapping of Soil C Stocks in Sri Lanka

Vegetation, soils, oceans and atmosphere are agents for storage of carbon. Among them, soil acts as a significant C sink that absorbs more C than the others. But,much less attention has been given to the potential for sequestering significant amounts of carbon in the soil. It will be an alternative mean for offsetting the effects of future greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. Therefore, it is important to find out ways to fix terrestrial C in long lived soil pools. The major objective of this study is to estimate available soil C stocks in forests and agricultural lands of Sri Lanka and to prepare a soil C storage map using GIS (Geographical Information System) technology. Assessment and mapping of Soil C stocks in forests of Sri Lanka

Mapping of soil C in Knuckles Forest Region

The Knuckles Forest Region, covering an area of approximately 21000 ha, lies in the Kandy and Matale districts of central Sri Lanka, spanning the upland and highland peneplains. The wide range of climatic and landscape features in the Knuckles region has resulted in a variety of natural and manmade vegetation types. These include montane forests, sub-montane forests, moist monsoon forests, patana / savannas, riverine forests, forest plantations, open and sparse forests.

Research Group

Research Assistant

R. P. S. Kumari Rajapaksha

curriculum vitae »

Research Colloboration

  • Ms. Manori Gunaratne, Sustainability Manager, Finlays Tea Estates Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.
  • Dr. N. Gnanavelrajah, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Jafna
- Information provided by the Group Leader -