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Soil-Carbon Sequestration: triple win strategy...

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Soil-Carbon Sequestration: triple win strategy...

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There is a renewed interest in the role of agriculture at the climate change negotiations, as evidenced by a number of interesting side-events during COP 16 in Cancun. The reason is simple: Agriculture and related activities account for a third of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, most of which can be mitigated, an opportunity that policy makers simply cannot afford to miss. What’s more, some of the techniques that sequester carbon have the added advantage of building the water-retention capacity and nutrient content of soils, hence contributing to a triple-win situation where mitigation, adaptation and yield increases are all addressed.
In response to this, SIANI and Sida arranged a one-day workshop on the theme From Source to Sink: How to make Agriculture part of the Solution to Climate Change while contributing to Poverty Alleviation? The main purpose of the workshop was to link the multiple potentials of agriculture to other development goals such as over-all poverty alleviation and food security, with particular reference to the needs of smallholder farmers who make up 70% of the world’s poorest people.

There is a renewed interest in the role of agriculture at the climate change negotiations, as evidenced by a number of interesting side-events during COP 16 in Cancun. The reason is simple: Agriculture and related activities account for a third of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, most of which can be mitigated, an opportunity that policy makers simply cannot afford to miss. What’s more, some of the techniques that sequester carbon have the added advantage of building the water-retention capacity and nutrient content of soils, hence contributing to a triple-win situation where mitigation, adaptation and yield increases are all addressed.
In response to this, SIANI and Sida arranged a one-day workshop on the theme From Source to Sink: How to make Agriculture part of the Solution to Climate Change while contributing to Poverty Alleviation? The main purpose of the workshop was to link the multiple potentials of agriculture to other development goals such as over-all poverty alleviation and food security, with particular reference to the needs of smallholder farmers who make up 70% of the world’s poorest people.

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Soil-Carbon Sequestration: triple win strategy...

  1. 1. Soil Carbon Sequestration: The Triple Win Strategy for Food Security, Climate Resilience and Low Emission Agriculture Ademola Braimoh, PhD
  2. 2. Introduction • The link between agriculture and human well-being will grow stronger in the 21st Century because of the enormous promise that agriculture offers for growth, poverty reduction and supply of ecosystem services • Seventy-five percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihood. • By 2050, agricultural production will need to increase by 70% to feed the world’s 9 billion people
  3. 3. • Accelerating climate change is an additional challenge to meeting the food security needs of the increasing population. • Global surface temperature has risen by 0.8oC since the late 19th Century. • Average rate of increase is 0.15oC per decade since 1975 (IPCC, 2007). • Projected increase during the 21st Century is 1.5 – 5.8oC (IPCC, 2001).
  4. 4. • Intensification of hydrologic scarcity and variability. • Crops have to grow in hotter and drier conditions. • Higher temperatures and shorter growing seasons will reduce the yields of most crops • Changes in precipitation pattern will increase the likelihood of short-run crop failures and long-run productivity declines (IFPRI, 2009). • Overall impact is expected to threaten food security. Impacts of Climate Change on Food Production
  5. 5. • Effects of land-use change on soil carbon is a major concern in international policy agenda • Agriculture and forestry sector account for about one-third of global emissions. • Most agricultural soils have lost 30 – 40 t ha-1 (30% - 75%) of their antecedent soil organic C pool (Lal et al. 2007) • Degree of loss is higher in soils that are susceptible to accelerated erosion. • If a given land-use change (deforestation) leads to soil carbon losses, then the reverse change (reforestation) could potentially increase carbon stock Land use as a source of emissions
  6. 6. • However, it can take several years to recover the original level of soil carbon stock after such a significant disturbance to the land system. SoilC Time Steady state A Steady state D Steady state C Steady state B Steady state E Disturbance New management Influence of management on SOC
  7. 7. • Improved land management practices has large mitigation potentials • 5.5 – 6.0 Gt CO2 equivalent by 2030; 89% through carbon sequestration. Land use as a sink of emissions 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 Up to $20 Up to $50 Up to $100 Biophysical potential Mt CO2 - equivalent A2; a more divided world, a world of independently operating, self-reliant nations B2; a world more divided, but more ecologically friendly A1b; a more integrated world with a balanced emphasis on all energy sources B1; a world more integrated, and more ecologically friendly
  8. 8. Mitigation potential across world regions (Mt CO2-eq) 70% of the potential resides in developing countries
  9. 9. Soil Carbon Sequestration Potential Values in parentheses are in kg C ha-1 yr -1 (Lal 2004)
  10. 10. Soil Carbon Sequestration potentials in Sub Saharan Africa Land management practice Attainable rates Mg ha-1yr-1 Natural or improved fallows 0.1 – 5.3 Manure, crop residues and no till on croplands 0 – 0.36 Permanent cropland with no till 200 -1500 Permanent croplands with fallow 400 – 18500 Fallow systems Up to 28500 Vagen et al (2005)
  11. 11. Soil Carbon Sequestration and Crop Yields Expected change in cereal yields by increasing soil organic C in the root zone by 1% in different countries (based on Lal, 2010) Change in yield (Mg ha-1) Crop Country 2.24 Wheat Argentina 1.76 Maize Northeast China 1.01 Rice India 2.87 Maize Nigeria 0.33 Wheat Russia
  12. 12. Soil carbon sequestration provides ancillary benefits including • Reduced soil erosion • Improved soil structure • Increased nutrient holding capacity • Increased nutrient use efficiency (spend less on fertilizers) • Reduction in land requirement for farming - agricultural intensification - less emissions
  13. 13. Constraints to adoption of soil carbon sequestration practices • Land tenure/property rights • Displacement of emissions • Permanence • Monitoring costs • Absence of incentives -(e.g. non recognition by CDM, lack of insurance/risk management, PES)
  14. 14. Moving the Soil Carbon Agenda Forward Improved knowledge of • Carbon sequestration potential of sustainable land management practices across agroecological zones • The trade-offs and synergies between carbon sequestration and food security that is associated with changes in land management practices. • The role of socioeconomic and institutional factors in the adoption of sequestration practices • The appropriate incentives for soil carbon sequestration in different regions of the world.
  15. 15. Soil Carbon Assessment at the World Bank We intend to develop an open source, geospatial database for soil carbon monitoring for specific land uses Examples of scenario questions answered by the database: • What is the carbon sequestration rate of soils in locations X, Y and Z? • Given the soil and climate conditions of location A, what cultivation and management practices are required to achieve a carbon sequestration of x tons and when will this be achieved? • What is the effect on carbon storage if management practice changes from P to Q and in what year will carbon sequestration reach saturation?
  16. 16. 16 You can contribute ideas, data and other information to the database development by sending e-mail to abraimoh@worldbank.org

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