Making Agriculture and Land Use Climatefriendly and Climateresilient

An agricultural landscape should simultaneously provide food and fiber, meet the needs ofnature and biodiversity, and support viable livelihoods for people who live there. In terms of climate change, landscape and farming systems should actively absorb and store carbon in vegetation and soils, reduce emissions of methane from rice production, livestock, and burning, and reduce nitrous oxide emissions from inorganic fertilizers. At the same time, it is important to increase the resilience of production systems and ecosystem services to climate change.8

Many techniques are already available to achieve climate-friendly landscapes. None is a "silver bullet," but in combinations that make sense locally they can help the world move decisively forward. This chapter describes five strategies that are especially promising: enriching soil carbon, creating high-carbon cropping systems, promoting climate-friendly livestock production systems, protecting existing carbon stores in natural forests and grasslands, and restoring vegetation in degraded areas. (See Figure 3-1.) Many other improvements will also be needed for production systems to adapt to climate change while meeting growing food needs and commercial demands, such as adapted seed varieties. But these five strategies are highlighted because of their powerful advantage in mitigating climate change as well as contributing broadly to more-sustainable production systems and other ecosystem services.9

Moreover, these strategies can help mobi

Farming and Land Use to Cool the Planet

Figure 3-1. Multiple Strategies to Productively Absorb and Store Carbon in Agricultural Landscapes

Degraded soils are revegetated producing biochar; fertile soils remain productive using organ methods and reducing tillage.

Perennials,tree crops, and other agroforestry methods retain greater biomass in the cropping system.

Figure 3-1. Multiple Strategies to Productively Absorb and Store Carbon in Agricultural Landscapes

Degraded soils are revegetated producing biochar; fertile soils remain productive using organ methods and reducing tillage.

Perennials,tree crops, and other agroforestry methods retain greater biomass in the cropping system.

Retaining forests and grasslands maintains carbon sinks while protecting watersheds.

Rotational grazing minimizes livestock impacts; biogas digesters turn waste into energy and organic fertilizer.

Retaining forests and grasslands maintains carbon sinks while protecting watersheds.

Rotational grazing minimizes livestock impacts; biogas digesters turn waste into energy and organic fertilizer.

lize a broad political coalition to support climate action by meeting the urgent needs of farmers, grazers and rural communities, the food industry, urban water users, resource-dependent industries, and conservation organizations. They can help meet not only climate goals but also internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals and other global environmental conventions.

Many of these approaches will be economically self-sustaining once initial investments are made. It is important to implement this agenda on a large scale in order to have significant impacts on the climate. Key roles that governments need to play are to mobilize the financing and social organization needed for these initial investments, develop additional incentives for activities that are more time-consuming or costly yet offer no particular benefits to farmers or land managers, and invest in the development of technologies and management systems that are especially promising but not yet ready for widespread use.

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