Transition to agroforestry: Current challenges and opportunities for the adoption of agroforestry as carbon sequestration strategy

Sara Burbi, Rodrigo Olave

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

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Abstract

The multiple benefits of agroforestry include the provision of several ecosystem services, e.g. biodiversity, food, timber, mitigation of climate change and the risk of erosion and land degradation. Carbon sequestration from agroforestry systems is an important regulating ecosystem service. Data from several studies in Europe (Northern Ireland, England, Spain, Portugal) suggest that agroforestry has a great potential to sequester carbon, in some cases more than grassland (Olave, 2016; Fornara et al., 2017). However, adoption of agroforestry is facing challenges due to several factors influencing farmers and land managers decision-making. Similar to what was found in a recent British study on livestock farmers’ attitudes to on-farm climate change mitigation strategies using a decision-support tool tailored for the sector (Burbi et al., 2016), the adoption of innovation to transition to climate friendly practices can encounter obstacles that are not always related to the evidence base to support the benefits of agroforestry. Barriers to innovation in the agroforestry sector include the uncertainty regarding carbon assessment methodologies. In particular, Land Use and Land Use Change from Forestry (LULUCF) accounting needs to better reflect the full potential for carbon sequestration from agroforestry systems using comprehensive calculations. Economic modelling is also a key aspect in promoting agroforestry, as one of the greatest barriers to innovation is the uncertainty in finance and labour required in an agroforestry system. This is particularly important for researchers to consider when engaging in the promotion of agroforestry. Clear and transparent communication on the multiple benefits of a system should also include information on the trade-offs and the possibility of integration of agroforestry within the current legislative framework. On the one hand, future work needs to address the uncertainty in LULUCF accounting and refine current methodologies used to measure the carbon balance of the system. Agroforestry-adapted legislation is also needed to better reflect the importance of these systems in terms of climate change mitigation and their delivery of multiple environmental and socio-economic ecosystem services. On the other hand, decision-support tools need to be adapted for agroforestry to highlight practices that are more suited for the landscape and the socio-economic context, helping farmers and land managers to easily identify the practices that provide greater carbon sequestration without compromising the productivity of their agri-businesses.References:1.Burbi, S., Baines, R.N., & Conway, J.S. (2016) Achieving successful farmer engagement on greenhouse gas emission mitigation. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 14: 466-483. DOI: 10.1080/14735903.2016.11520622.Fornara, D., Olave, R., Burgess, P., Delmer, A., Upson, M., & McAdam, J. (2017). Land use change and soil carbon pools: evidence from a long-term silvopastoral experiment. Agroforestry Systems, AGFORWARD. Special Issue.3.Olave, R. (2016). Agroforestry as a land use option to sequester carbon in a cool temperate climate. World Congress Silvo-pastoral Systems 2016. University of Évora, Portugal. 27-30 September 2016.
Original languageEnglish
Pages1-7
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2017
EventAgroecology Europe Conference - Lyons, France
Duration: 25 Oct 201727 Oct 2017
http://www.agroecology-europe.org/agroecology-forum-2017/

Conference

ConferenceAgroecology Europe Conference
CountryFrance
CityLyons
Period25/10/1727/10/17
Internet address

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agroforestry
carbon sequestration
ecosystem service
land use change
innovation
land use
carbon
forestry
mitigation
farmers attitude
methodology
alternative agriculture
carbon balance
land degradation
environmental economics
soil carbon
finance
timber
livestock
legislation

Keywords

  • agroforestry
  • agroecology
  • carbon sequestration and storage
  • transition
  • decision support systems
  • indicator-based assessment tools
  • farmer engagement
  • participatory research
  • land use changes
  • climate change

Cite this

Transition to agroforestry: Current challenges and opportunities for the adoption of agroforestry as carbon sequestration strategy. / Burbi, Sara; Olave, Rodrigo.

2017. 1-7 Agroecology Europe Conference, Lyons, France.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

Burbi, S & Olave, R 2017, 'Transition to agroforestry: Current challenges and opportunities for the adoption of agroforestry as carbon sequestration strategy' Agroecology Europe Conference, Lyons, France, 25/10/17 - 27/10/17, pp. 1-7.
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N2 - The multiple benefits of agroforestry include the provision of several ecosystem services, e.g. biodiversity, food, timber, mitigation of climate change and the risk of erosion and land degradation. Carbon sequestration from agroforestry systems is an important regulating ecosystem service. Data from several studies in Europe (Northern Ireland, England, Spain, Portugal) suggest that agroforestry has a great potential to sequester carbon, in some cases more than grassland (Olave, 2016; Fornara et al., 2017). However, adoption of agroforestry is facing challenges due to several factors influencing farmers and land managers decision-making. Similar to what was found in a recent British study on livestock farmers’ attitudes to on-farm climate change mitigation strategies using a decision-support tool tailored for the sector (Burbi et al., 2016), the adoption of innovation to transition to climate friendly practices can encounter obstacles that are not always related to the evidence base to support the benefits of agroforestry. Barriers to innovation in the agroforestry sector include the uncertainty regarding carbon assessment methodologies. In particular, Land Use and Land Use Change from Forestry (LULUCF) accounting needs to better reflect the full potential for carbon sequestration from agroforestry systems using comprehensive calculations. Economic modelling is also a key aspect in promoting agroforestry, as one of the greatest barriers to innovation is the uncertainty in finance and labour required in an agroforestry system. This is particularly important for researchers to consider when engaging in the promotion of agroforestry. Clear and transparent communication on the multiple benefits of a system should also include information on the trade-offs and the possibility of integration of agroforestry within the current legislative framework. On the one hand, future work needs to address the uncertainty in LULUCF accounting and refine current methodologies used to measure the carbon balance of the system. Agroforestry-adapted legislation is also needed to better reflect the importance of these systems in terms of climate change mitigation and their delivery of multiple environmental and socio-economic ecosystem services. On the other hand, decision-support tools need to be adapted for agroforestry to highlight practices that are more suited for the landscape and the socio-economic context, helping farmers and land managers to easily identify the practices that provide greater carbon sequestration without compromising the productivity of their agri-businesses.References:1.Burbi, S., Baines, R.N., & Conway, J.S. (2016) Achieving successful farmer engagement on greenhouse gas emission mitigation. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 14: 466-483. DOI: 10.1080/14735903.2016.11520622.Fornara, D., Olave, R., Burgess, P., Delmer, A., Upson, M., & McAdam, J. (2017). Land use change and soil carbon pools: evidence from a long-term silvopastoral experiment. Agroforestry Systems, AGFORWARD. Special Issue.3.Olave, R. (2016). Agroforestry as a land use option to sequester carbon in a cool temperate climate. World Congress Silvo-pastoral Systems 2016. University of Évora, Portugal. 27-30 September 2016.

AB - The multiple benefits of agroforestry include the provision of several ecosystem services, e.g. biodiversity, food, timber, mitigation of climate change and the risk of erosion and land degradation. Carbon sequestration from agroforestry systems is an important regulating ecosystem service. Data from several studies in Europe (Northern Ireland, England, Spain, Portugal) suggest that agroforestry has a great potential to sequester carbon, in some cases more than grassland (Olave, 2016; Fornara et al., 2017). However, adoption of agroforestry is facing challenges due to several factors influencing farmers and land managers decision-making. Similar to what was found in a recent British study on livestock farmers’ attitudes to on-farm climate change mitigation strategies using a decision-support tool tailored for the sector (Burbi et al., 2016), the adoption of innovation to transition to climate friendly practices can encounter obstacles that are not always related to the evidence base to support the benefits of agroforestry. Barriers to innovation in the agroforestry sector include the uncertainty regarding carbon assessment methodologies. In particular, Land Use and Land Use Change from Forestry (LULUCF) accounting needs to better reflect the full potential for carbon sequestration from agroforestry systems using comprehensive calculations. Economic modelling is also a key aspect in promoting agroforestry, as one of the greatest barriers to innovation is the uncertainty in finance and labour required in an agroforestry system. This is particularly important for researchers to consider when engaging in the promotion of agroforestry. Clear and transparent communication on the multiple benefits of a system should also include information on the trade-offs and the possibility of integration of agroforestry within the current legislative framework. On the one hand, future work needs to address the uncertainty in LULUCF accounting and refine current methodologies used to measure the carbon balance of the system. Agroforestry-adapted legislation is also needed to better reflect the importance of these systems in terms of climate change mitigation and their delivery of multiple environmental and socio-economic ecosystem services. On the other hand, decision-support tools need to be adapted for agroforestry to highlight practices that are more suited for the landscape and the socio-economic context, helping farmers and land managers to easily identify the practices that provide greater carbon sequestration without compromising the productivity of their agri-businesses.References:1.Burbi, S., Baines, R.N., & Conway, J.S. (2016) Achieving successful farmer engagement on greenhouse gas emission mitigation. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 14: 466-483. DOI: 10.1080/14735903.2016.11520622.Fornara, D., Olave, R., Burgess, P., Delmer, A., Upson, M., & McAdam, J. (2017). Land use change and soil carbon pools: evidence from a long-term silvopastoral experiment. Agroforestry Systems, AGFORWARD. Special Issue.3.Olave, R. (2016). Agroforestry as a land use option to sequester carbon in a cool temperate climate. World Congress Silvo-pastoral Systems 2016. University of Évora, Portugal. 27-30 September 2016.

KW - agroforestry

KW - agroecology

KW - carbon sequestration and storage

KW - transition

KW - decision support systems

KW - indicator-based assessment tools

KW - farmer engagement

KW - participatory research

KW - land use changes

KW - climate change

M3 - Other

SP - 1

EP - 7

ER -