Carbon farming schemes should consider multiple cobenefits

Sep 13, 2013

Carbon markets and related international schemes that allow payments to landholders for planting trees, sometimes called carbon farming, are intended to support sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere. But they will have harmful effects, such as degrading ecosystems and causing food supply problems, if other benefits and disbenefits from revegetating agricultural landscapes are not also taken into account in land-use decisions, according to an article published in the October issue of BioScience.

Brenda B. Lin of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and her colleagues assessed a variety of ways that people have attempted carbon farming. Simple maximization of profit can lead landholders accessing carbon markets to create monoculture plantations, which do not support biodiversity and provide few environmental benefits to local inhabitants. But alternatives such as planting strips of trees on farms, agroforestry—integrating trees into cropping systems—and revegetation of marginal or crop land can sequester carbon while also yielding a broad spectrum of environmental benefits.

These benefits may include, for example, reduced pollution outflow and erosion, and better wind protection, pest control, and pollination. What is more, schemes that have local participation and buy-in are more likely to be successful over the long term, because they can draw on local knowledge about trees likely to thrive and will remain popular. Lin and her colleagues urge organizers of carbon farming schemes to move beyond a carbon-only focus and consider cobenefits of revegetation, while involving local inhabitants, not just , in .

Explore further: Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms' water

Related Stories

Native species proposed as viable long-term sequesters

Jan 26, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research into the carbon sequestration abilities of native tree species was undertaken by Greening Australia, and will hopefully make native species more attractive and viable option for ...

Farming commercial miscanthus

Aug 31, 2011

An article in the current issue of Global Change Biology Bioenergy examines the carbon sequestration potential of Miscanthus plantations on commercial farms.

Assessing agroforestry's advantages

Jun 30, 2011

Agroforestry, the deliberate placement of trees into crop and livestock operations, can help capture substantial amounts of carbon on agricultural lands while providing production and conservation benefits. ...

Recommended for you

Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

Jul 03, 2015

Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess—a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation ...

Cities, regions call for 'robust' world climate pact

Jul 03, 2015

Thousands of cities, provinces and states from around the world urged national governments on Thursday to deliver a "robust, binding, equitable and universal" planet-saving climate pact in December.

Will climate change put mussels off the menu?

Jul 03, 2015

Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface ...

As nations dither, cities pick up climate slack

Jul 02, 2015

Their national governments hamstrung by domestic politics, stretched budgets and diplomatic inertia, many cities and provinces have taken a leading role—driven by necessity—in efforts to arrest galloping ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.