Legumes contribute to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, as they release 5–7 times less GHG per unit area compared with other crops; allow the sequestration of carbon in soils and induce a saving of fossil energy inputs in the system thanks to N fertilizer reduction. Legumes could also be competitive crops and, due to their environmental and socioeconomic benefits, could be introduced in modern cropping systems to increase crop diversity and reduce use of external inputs. Legumes fix the atmospheric nitrogen, release in the soil high-quality organic matter and facilitate soil nutrients’ circulation and water retention.

Source: Stagnari, F., Maggio, A., Galieni, A.et al.Multiple benefits of legumes for agriculture sustainability: an overview.Chem. Biol. Technol. Agric.4, 2 (2017).