In early 2002, the Land and Plant Nutrition Management Service (AGLL) of the Land and Water Development Division of FAO initiated a project cosponsored by the Global Mechanism (GM) on carbon sequestration incentive mechanisms to combat land degradation and desertification. The central objective of the program is to assist dryland countries in the formulation of policy and technical options for agricultural systems that can improve livelihood of poor farmers through CS. One output of the program is a knowledge base on soil CS in drylands. The knowledge base is to contain factual information on the potentiality of CS in drylands across different land use and management systems, as well as an overview of the policies and clarification of the different economic incentives regarding soil CS. AGLL is implementing the knowledge base in collaboration with the Universities of Essex and Lund.
There are many reviews and studies on the subject of CS, and some have highlighted the global and regional potential offered by drylands (e.g., Batjes, 1998; Rosenberg et al., 1999; Lal, 2001, 2003) and the scientific progress made on this issue (Izaurralde et al., 2001). However, studies on the potential of CS under local farming conditions in rural dryland communities in developing countries are few. The AGLL/GM project aims at contributing to filling the existing gap in knowledge at that level. This paper evaluates specific options for land management practices by analyzing some case studies carried out in several distinctive drylands areas of the world. The final aim of FAO is to facilitate the dissemination of such practices in soil CS programs in similar agro-ecological environments in other countries to improve food security and rural livelihood in those areas.
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