Faidherbia albida, a dryland thorn tree with numerous benefits


Photo credit: Agroforestry World

Faidherbia parkland, Karonga District, Malawi. Photo by Tracy Beedy/ICRAF

While raising crop yields, African thorn tree Faidherbia albida captures large amounts of carbon

A large, old Faidherbia albida tree with a metre-plus diameter stored the equivalent of the CO2 emitted by 8 cars over one year. These useful trees play an important role in carbon sequestration, a critical part of the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.

People in many areas of Africa gain numerous benefits from the leaves, branches and trunks of the dryland thorn tree Faidherbia albida.

Faidherbia in maize, Bwanje Valley, Malawi. Photo by Tracy Beedy/ICRAF – http://blog.worldagroforestry.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Faidherbia-in-maize-Bwanje-Valley-Malawi-300×225.jpg

The tree’s spreading roots conserve the soil from wind and water erosion. Its roots fix atmospheric nitrogen which then passes to the leaves, which fertilize the topsoil when they fall, leading to higher crop yields.Faidherbia’s wide canopy provides shade as well as leaves and pods that serve as nutritious fodder for sheep and goats. And for people living around lakes, the trunk has light yet strong wood perfect for traditional dugout fishing canoes. The multipurpose tree is ideal forevergreen agriculture.

And now, carbon credits could join the list of benefitsFaidherbia albida brings to communities.

Research by World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and partners, reported in a recent article in the journalAgroforestry Systems, has come up with formulae that allow us, for the first time, to accurately calculate the ‘total above-ground biomass’ of F. albida. This value indicates the amount of carbon sequestered by the tree. Working out the carbon stored in trees is the starting point for entering the global carbon credits markets, in which payments are based on the amount of the carbon in standing trees.

Read the full article: Agroforestry World

Bamboo ideal for removing carbon from atmosphere

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Flickr/Wu Zhiyi/World Bank


China promises boost to African bamboo expertise

by Keya Archarya

“Bamboo should now become a South-South-North dynamic for climate change initiatives using China’s expertise in managing this sector.” – Hans Friederich, INBAR

Speed read

  • Network aims to transfer knowledge about novel products
  • Bamboo’s fast growth make it ideal for removing carbon from atmosphere
  • Money will come from Chinese fund to fight climate change

China aims to increase Africa’s expertise in novel bamboo products through a new knowledge exchange network, it was announced at the COP 21 summit.

The country plans to team up with African states to start a partnership that would see knowledge about bamboo growth and products, such as bamboo-based biofuels and charcoal briquettes, transferred to other bamboo-growing nations.

The partnership, which was launched at an event on 9 December in Paris, France, will be overseen by INBAR, a China-based intergovernmental organisation that seeks to use bamboo and rattan to reduce poverty and environmental damage.
Part of a 20 billion renminbi (US$3.1 billion) fund that China launched in September to increase South-South cooperation on climate change will be spent on the initiative.

Bamboo’s quick growth and easy care make it ideal for removing carbon from the atmosphere, and being a raw material for biofuel and consumer products, the initiative’s supporters said.

“Bamboo should now become a South-South-North dynamic forclimate change initiatives using China’s expertise in managing this sector,” said Hans Friederich, INBAR’s director-general.

The partnership also plans to include bamboo-growing countries from Asia and Latin America at a later stage, the event heard.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Introducing new farming practices for carbon sink

Photo credit: SciDevNet – http://www.scidev.net/objects_store/thumbnail/3C07DFC259BE3DE0EA49FB9FABB57F9F.jpg

Copyright: Dieter Telemans/Panos


Soil project seeks to soak up excess carbon

by Tania Rabesandratana

“It’s a bit of a scientific dream, but we have a lot of evidence that supports this dream.” Jean-Paul Moatti, French Research Institute for Development

Speed read

  • 4 Pour 1000 initiative aims to lock away carbon through better farming
  • It encourages simple steps such as tree planting and adding manure
  • Project hopes to do enough to offset all human emissions

France is leading a worldwide push to increase the amount of carbon locked in soils through better farming practices.

Supporters of an initiative launched at the COP 21 summit say this would limit global warming by removing carbon from the atmosphere, while also increasing the range and amount of food farmers produce by improving soil fertility. This would particularly benefit developing countries, according to representatives of the 4 Pour 1000 initiative.

“It’s a bit of a scientific dream, but we have a lot of evidence that supports this dream,” Jean-Paul Moatti, the chief executive officer of the French Research Institute for Development, one of the organisations behind the plan, said yesterday on the sidelines of the talks in Paris, France.

Increasing carbon stocks in the top 40 centimetres of soil by four parts per 1,000 (0.4 per cent) each year would compensate for carbon emissions from human activity, the project description says, provided deforestation is halted.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Indigenous peoples conserving the forests

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Flickr/Dede Rohadi /CIFOR


Indigenous people keep carbon locked in forests

“The world has never had such strong evidence of the role of indigenous peoples in conserving the forests that represent the one existing solution to climate change.”

Abdon Nababan, Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago


Speed read

  • Local land claims must be protected to stop greenhouse gas emissions from tree felling, forum hears.

Indigenous people prevent carbon emissions through their stewardship of forests and pristine environments, a side event at the COP 21 summit heard.

A study presented at COP 21’s Global landscapes forum showed thatindigenous people oversee around a fifth of the world’s carbon stock, in the form of tropical forests. Altogether, 168 billion tonnes of carbon are stored on indigenous lands — around three times the world’s annual emissions — and this is in danger of being released if the societies looking after these lands are not strengthened, the study found.

“We know that the respect and recognition of indigenous people’s rights, land tenure and traditional knowledge have contributed to more sustainable use and management of various ecosystems and landscapes,” said Grace Balawag, the deputy coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership on Climate Change, Forests and Sustainable Development.

The study was presented at the 5 December event in Paris, France, by an alliance of indigenous peoples’ groups from Africa, Asia and Latin America. It was discussed alongside several research papers and initiatives highlighting the role that indigenous people play in preventing the destruction of forests and the release of large carbon stocks.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Forests, the obvious tool to alleviate climate change

Photo credit: Treehugger

© Moisés Silva Lima

The low-tech solution to cut carbon emissions in half

Margaret  Badore

by Margaret Badore

On Monday, leaders from around the world will meet in Paris with the goal of reaching a global agreement to fight disastrous levels of climate change. In order for such a goal to be a success, they’ll need to transition the world away from fossil fuels, but how fast that can happen remains to be seen.

While the switch from carbon-heavy fossil fuels to renewable energy technologies needs to happen as fast as possible in order to cut carbon emission, there’s another tool that shouldn’t be underestimated.

That tool is rainforests.

There’s no shortage of reasons why rainforests should be conserved and restored in their own right. They’re home to cultures, animals and plants that can’t survive anywhere else. But rainforests can help play a big role in sequestering carbon and the world weens itself off of fossil fuels.

In article published in Nature Climate Change earlier this week, climate experts fromRainforest Trust and the Woods Hole Research Center estimate that conserving and restoring tropical forests could cut carbon emissions by half.

It’s well known that forests are an important carbon sink, but right now, rainforest regions areas are contributing to emissions due to forest degradation and deforestation.

The article identifies three ways that trend could be turned around, and rainforests could start helping sequester carbon. First, if deforestation were to stop, so would the emissions produced by harvesting trees and slash-and-burn agriculture. Second, forests that are currently recovering from previous damage can capture carbon at a much higher rate—something to the tune of 3 gigatons of carbon per year.

Read the full article: Treehugger

C-sequestration and biodiversity conservation in Burkina Faso



Biodiversity and carbon stocks in different land use types in the Sudanian Zone of Burkina Faso, West Africa

by Dayamba, S.D.; Djoudi, H.; Zida, M.; Sawadogo, L.; Verchot, L.V.

Source: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 216: 61-72

DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2015.09.023


Lack of data on carbon stocks hampers implementation of emission reduction mechanisms (e.g., REDD+). Addressing this issue is relevant, especially when combined with other challenges such as preserving biodiversity.

The present study assessed tree diversity (Shannon–Wiener’s index) and carbon stocks of different land uses in Balé and Ziro sites in Sudanian zone of Burkina Faso.

Aboveground carbon stock was evaluated using generalized equation. Belowground carbon was assessed by excavating plant parts in samples of soil in each plot. Regarding soil sampling for C-content assessment, four locations were selected in each plot and soil was sampled at the depths of 0–20 cm and 20–50 cm, using an auger. The four soil samples from each depth were pooled, thoroughly mixed and a composite soil sample taken to the laboratory for carbon content measurement using the Black and Walkley method. The C-content was then used for calculating SOC.

In Balé and Ziro, 85 and 106 species, 63 and 82 genera, 29 and 35 families were identified, respectively, with the Leguminosae family as most dominant. Natural vegetation stands (NV) and fallows showed high richness and diversity compared to parklands.

Soil was found the most important carbon pool. Highest values of aboveground, belowground and soil C-stocks in Ziro (13.9, 14.71 and 67.1 Mg/ha) were recorded in community managed forests (CMF) logged 12 years ago, while equivalent values for Balé (25.76, 14.96 and 53.02 Mg/ha) were recorded in the dense NV.

However, irrespective of C pool, the difference between CMFs and the 100 trees/ha Vitellaria parkland was not significant. Correlations were found between species richness and above and belowground C-stocks (R2 = 0.22, p < 0.0001; R2 = 0.33, p < 0.0001). Overall, dense Vitellaria parklands, apart from allowing tree-crop integration, have real potentials for C sequestration. Also, C-sequestration and biodiversity conservation are likely not conflicting targets.

Climate change, CO2 and mangroves

Photo credit: Nature World News

Protected areas in Indonesia have reduced mangrove habitat loss and carbon dioxide emissions in amounts equivalent to “taking 344,000 vehicles off the road each year,” according to a scientist in a recent Duke study. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons )


Carbon Dioxide and Mangroves: Equivalent to Removing Cars From Road

By Samantha Mathewson

Mangrove conservation efforts not only prevent habitat loss, but also help regulate carbon dioxide emissions. According to researchers from Duke University, protected areas in Indonesia have maintained 35,594 acres of mangrove habitats and prevented the release into the atmosphere of about 13 million metric tons of carbon dioxide that the mangrove roots help store.

“This is not a small number,” Daniela Miteva, a postdoctoral researcher at The Nature Conservancy and a Duke University alumna, said in a news release. “Protected areas have reduced the rate of mangrove loss by about 28 percent in Indonesia, which has the world’s largest area of mangroves.”

The researchers analyzed the success of protected areas from 2000 to 2010. Their findings were recently published in the journal Ecological Economics.

Read the full article: Nature World News

Trees for carbon storage, nutrient cycling, water and air quality, and human services

Photo credit: Nature World News

A team of researchers recently mapped tree populations worldwide. (Photo : Crowther, et al)

Boreal Forests and Climate: 3 Trillion Trees in World

By Samantha Mathewson

Picture 3 trillion trees. See? You can’t. We’d wager that none of us can see the forest or the trees at that rate. However, a recent study that mapped the world’s trees, including great swaths of forest in northern and equatorial regions, found that they totaled around 3 trillion.  This is roughly seven and a half times more than previously estimated. However, according to recent mapping, these numbers still represent a 46 percent decline in worldwide tree population since the beginning of human life on Earth, as a release noted.

The researchers used satellite images, forest inventories and supercomputer technologies. They collected tree density information for more than 400,000 forests worldwide.

“Trees are among the most prominent and critical organisms on Earth, yet we are only recently beginning to comprehend their global extent and distribution,” Thomas Crowther, lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), said in a news release. “They store huge amounts of carbon, are essential for the cycling of nutrients, for water and air quality, and for countless human services. Yet you ask people to estimate, within an order of magnitude, how many trees there are and they don’t know where to begin. I don’t know what I would have guessed, but I was certainly surprised to find that we were talking about trillions.”

Read the full article: Nature World News

Land degradation, one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century

Photo credit: RTCC

When land stops being productive, it drives forest clearance (Flickr/CIFOR)

Why restoring degraded land is crucial to the climate

A new UN fund is aiming to cut emissions from bad land management and improve food, energy and water security

By Simone Quatrini and Harald Heubaum

Land is a fundamental natural resource, providing food and livelihoods for billions of people around the world.

Degraded land in Uzbekistan (Flickr/IFPRI -IMAGES) - http://www.rtcc.org/files/2015/08/land-degradation-600x337.jpg
Degraded land in Uzbekistan (Flickr/IFPRI -IMAGES) – http://www.rtcc.org/files/2015/08/land-degradation-600×337.jpg

Soil and land also play a key role in addressing economic inequality, maintaining biodiversity and combating global climate change. Whether it is forests, grasslands, savannahs or deserts – terrestrial ecosystems are a key to building a more sustainable future.

Yet, land is under threat. Land degradation – the reduction in the quality and productive capacity of land and soil due to extreme weather conditions and human activities such as deforestation, unsustainable agriculture and invasive mining – has quickly becomedation, one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.

Worldwide, two billion hectares of land are currently degraded – an area larger than South America. Of this, 500 million hectares are abandoned agricultural land.

With an expected global population of 9.5 billion by 2050, land degradation, population pressures and climate change increasingly tax our natural resource base beyond its carrying capacity. Available cropland per person is falling precariously.

With 52% of agricultural land moderately or severely degraded and with more than 12 million hectares lost to production each year; demand projections for crucial resources – especially productive land for food, fuel, fibre and water – outstrip all future scenarios for supply.

Read the full article: RTCC

Smallholder farmers are a key part of the solution to the climate change challenge

Photo credit: UN News Centre

Farmers growing lettuce and other vegetables in the highlands of Bevatu Settlement, Nadrau, Viti Levu, Fiji. Photo: IFAD/Susan Beccio

Small farmers can be major actors in reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint – UN agency

Helping farmers adapt to the impacts of climate change can also significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, finds a new study released today by one of the agricultural agencies of the United Nations system.

“What this report shows is that smallholder farmers are a key part of the solution to the climate change challenge,” said Michel Mordasini, Vice President of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). “With the right investments, smallholders can feed a growing planet while at the same time restoring degraded ecosystems and reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint.”

IFAD chose UNESCO’s Our Common Future under Climate Change Science Conference in Paris to release details of its latest research with the Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

The study finds reducing emissions may not be as big a burden as some may believe and could be another benefit of adaptation activities. The study, released today, examines IFAD’s portfolio of projects focused on making smallholder agriculture more resilient to climate change.

Read the full article: UN News Centre

Interesting role of bamboo and rattan

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: G.M.B. Akash/Panos

Use bamboo in sustainable development

by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

“Modern bamboo houses are more flexible in an earthquake, as they flex and absorb some of the energy.” – Hans Friederich, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan

Speed read

  • Bamboo can grow three times faster than trees and could be used for bioenergy
  • It captures a lot of carbon and can be turned into charcoal and building materials
  • But to make the most of it governments must plan their forestry policies well ahead

Governments should pay more attention to the role that bamboo and rattan can play in building more sustainable and greener economies, a pressure group has told a UN meeting.

“Bamboo and rattan are not always seen as tools to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals. We believe they bring major opportunities,” the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), an intergovernmental group based in Beijing, China, told the UN Forum on Forests in New York, United States earlier this month

For example, bamboo can reduce soil erosion and restore degraded lands, and ultimately help protect the livelihoods of people who depend on forest ecosystems. Products derived from the two plants could also bring income to millions of people in developing countries, the group says.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Ringing another climate bell

Photo credit: Nature World News

(Photo : James Thew / Fotolia)

Mother Nature Fights Back Against Climate Change

By Jenna Iacurci

Humanity may be struggling to find ways of reducing carbon emissions, but it seems we are not going it alone, as Mother Nature is also fighting back in her own way against climate change.

That’s at least according to a new study published in the journal Biogeosciences, which describes that as carbon emissions continue to climb, so too has Earth’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Although about half of the emissions of CO2 each year remain in the atmosphere, the other half is taken up by the ecosystems on land and the oceans.

For example, plants and other land vegetation take up CO2 via the natural process of photosynthesis –absorbing more of the greenhouse gas than scientists previously thought. And researchers are now just beginning to understand how big of a role the world’sriver systems play in the uptake of CO2 in the global carbon cycle.

“There is no question that land and oceans have, for at least the last five and half decades, been taking up about half of the carbon emitted each year. The outstanding question is, Why? Most of the processes responsible for that uptake would be expected to slow down as Earth warms, but we haven’t seen it yet,” study co-author and senior scientist Richard A. Houghton, from the Woods Hole Research Center, said in a press release.

“Since the emissions today are three times higher than they were in the 1960s, this increased uptake by land and ocean is not only surprising; it’s good news,” he added. “Without it, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere would be twice what it is, and climate change would be much farther along. But, there’s no guarantee that it will continue.”

Read the full article: Nature World News

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