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Greenhouse Gas Mitigation and Specialty Crops

California produces over 90 percent of the nation’s specialty crops, supporting a diverse and vibrant multi-billion-dollar agricultural production system.

Here, we present a synthesis of research on agricultural practices in the state’s specialty crop systems and their capacity to mitigate impacts of climate change, namely by reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and improvements in soil organic matter storage. Woody perennial crops and cool-season and warm-season crops are examined, including grapes, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, stonefruit, citrus, tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.

We also present the development and improvements in specialty crops within DayCent, the biogeochemical model that underpins the USDA-NRCS tool COMET-Farm. COMET-Farm is a farm-level accounting tool for assessing reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that can be gained by employing certain conservation practices. Empirically derived emissions factors for nitrous oxide emissions from tomatoes, wine grapes, almonds and vegetables are also presented to calculate potential greenhouse gas emissions associated with each agricultural practice across their acreage in the state.

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