Photo credit: Agroforestry World
Faidherbia and tomatoes on a farm in Salima District, Malawi. Photo by Tracy Beedy/World Agroforestry Centre
Trees on farms: the missing link in carbon accounting
While tropical forests continued to decline, a remarkable change is happening: tree cover on agricultural land has increased across the globe, capturing nearly 0.75 Gigatonnes carbon dioxide every year. A new study titled Global Tree Cover and Biomass Carbon on Agricultural Land: The contribution of agroforestry to global and national carbon budgets provides insights into the patterns of this tremendous change at global, regional and national scales.
According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), agriculture and land-use change account for about 24% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change will also have strong impacts on food security in the long-term. Therefore agriculture needs to reduce its climate footprint. But a recent study has shown that the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from crop and livestock production is limited. At the same time, large forest areas, primarily in the tropics, are still being converted into agricultural land to feed the world’s growing population.
For these reasons, agricultural practices that can significantly reduce carbon emissions are in high demand.
Trees on agricultural lands – also known as agroforestry systems – have the potential to contribute to climate change mitigation while improving livelihoods and incomes and providing invaluable ecosystem services at the same time. The World Bank estimates that globally 1.2 billion people depend on agroforestry farming systems, especially in developing countries. However, trees on agricultural lands are not considered in the greenhouse gas accounting framework of the IPCC.
Read the full article: Agroforestry World