Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 75, Issue 1, pp 27–37 | Cite as

Agroforestry: working trees for sequestering carbon on agricultural lands

Article

Abstract

Agroforestry is an appealing option for sequestering carbon on agricultural lands because it can sequester significant amounts of carbon while leaving the bulk of the land in agricultural production. Simultaneously, it can help landowners and society address many other issues facing these lands, such as economic diversification, biodiversity, and water quality. Nonetheless, agroforestry remains under-recognized as a greenhouse gas mitigation option for agriculture in the US. Reasons for this include the limited information-base and number of tools agroforestry can currently offer as compared to that produced from the decades-worth of investment in agriculture and forestry, and agroforestry’s cross-cutting nature that puts it at the interface of agriculture and forestry where it is not strongly supported or promoted by either. Agroforestry research is beginning to establish the scientific foundation required for building carbon accounting and modeling tools, but more progress is needed before it is readily accepted within agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation programs and, further, incorporated into the broader scope of sustainable agricultural management. Agroforestry needs to become part of the agricultural tool box and not viewed as something separate from it. Government policies and programs driving research direction and investment are being formulated with or without data in order to meet pressing needs. Enhanced communication of agroforestry’s carbon co-benefit, as well as the other benefits afforded by these plantings, will help elevate agroforestry awareness within these discussions. This will be especially crucial in deliberations on such broad sweeping natural resource programs as the US Farm Bill.

Keywords

Biomass equations Carbon credits Carbon sequestration Greenhouse gas mitigation Woody biomass 

References

  1. Becker E (2001) Administration seeks to shift farm policy from subsidies. The New York Times, 20 September 2001Google Scholar
  2. Brandle JR, Johnson BB, Akeson T (1992a) Field windbreaks: are they economical? J Prod Agric 5:393–398Google Scholar
  3. Brandle JR, Wardle TD, Bratton GF (1992b) Opportunities to increase tree plantings in shelterbelts and the potential impacts on carbon storage and conservation. In: Sampson RN, Hairs D (eds) Forests and global change, vol 1, chap 9. American Forests, Washington DC, pp 157–175Google Scholar
  4. Brown S (2002) Measuring, monitoring, and verification of carbon benefits for forest-based projects. Phil Trans R Soc Lond (A) 360:1669–1683CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cairns M, Brown S, Helmer E, Baumgardner G (1997) Root biomass allocation in the world’s upland forests. Oecologia 111:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clark H, de Klein C, Newton P (2001) Potential management practices and technologies to reduce nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide emission from New Zealand agriculture. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, New Zealand, p 85. [On-line] Available: http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/rural-nz/sustainable-resource-use/climate/green-house-gas-migration/ghg-mitigation.pdf. Accessed 18 Apr 2005
  7. CO2 Group Limited (2004) Group Limited announces ground breaking carbon credit sale. Media release. ANNOUNCEMENT 78. [On-line] Available: http://www.co2australia.com.au/documents/CO2ASXMediaRelease22-11-04.pdf. Accessed 22 November 2004
  8. Dixon RK, Winjum JK, Andrasko KJ, Lee JJ, Schroeder PE (1994) Integrated systems: assessment of promising agroforestry and alternative land use practices to enhance carbon conservation and sequestration. Clim Change 30:1–23Google Scholar
  9. Faeth P, Greenhalgh S (2000) A climate and environmental strategy for U.S. agriculture. World resources climate notes, November 2000Google Scholar
  10. Gitay H, Suarez A, Watson R, Dokken DJ (eds) (2002) Climate change and biodiversity – IPCC Technical Paper V. Intergovernmental panel on climate change. [On-line] Available at: http://www.ipcc.ch/pub/tpbiodiv.pdf. Accessed 5 Apr 2005
  11. Gold MA, Rietveld WJ, Garrett HE, Fisher RF (2000) Agroforestry nomenclature, concepts and practices for the USA. In: Garrett HE et al (eds) North American agroforestry: an integrated science and practice. American Society of Agronomy, Inc., Madison, WI, USA, pp 63–77Google Scholar
  12. KCARE Environmental News (2003) Soil carbon and climate change news. # 26. October 31, 2003. [On-line] Available at: http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/ctec/newsletter/10_31_03.htm. Accessed 10 Apr 2005
  13. Korn H, Ntayombya P, Berghall O, Cotter J, Lamb R, Ruark G, Thompson I (2003) Climate change mitigation and adaptation options: links to, and impacts on biodiversity, chap 4, pp 48–87. In: Secretariat of the convention on biological diversity (2003) Interlinkages between biological diversity and climate change. Advice on the integration of biodiversity considerations into the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto protocol. Montreal, SCDB, p 154 (CBD Technical Series no. 10). [On-line] Available at http://www.biodiv.org/doc/publications/cbd-ts-10.pdf. Accessed 19 Apr. 2006
  14. Kort J (1988) Benefits of windbreaks to field and forage crops. Agric Ecosyst Environ 22/23:165–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kort J, Turnock R (1999) Carbon reservoir and biomass in Canadian prairie shelterbelts. Agrofor Syst 44:175–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Landcare Research New Zealand (2005) EBEX21 Project. [On-line] Available: http://www.ebex21.co.nz/html/WhatIsEbex21.aspx?Flash=false. Accessed 25 Apr 2005
  17. Lynne G, Kruse C (2001) Conceptual framework for greenhouse gas sequestration alternatives. Report to: University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. [On-line] Available: http://ppc.unl.edu/publications/documents/carbonsequest_conceptualframework.pdf. Accessed 9 Feb 2006
  18. Lynne G, Kruse C (2004) Farmer views on the emerging carbon market. (14 January 2004) Cornhusker Economics, Cooperative Extension, Inst. of Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. [On-line] Available: http://agecon.unl.edu/pub/cornhusker/1-14-04.pdf. Accessed 9 Feb 2006
  19. McCarl B, MacCallaway J (1995) Carbon sequestration through tree planting on agricultural lands. In: Lal R et al (eds) Soil management and greenhouse effect. Advances in soil science, chap. 27. CRC, Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, LA, pp 329–338Google Scholar
  20. Miller AT, Allen HL, Maier C (2006) Quantifying the coarse-root biomass of intensively managed loblolly pine plantations. Can J For Res 36:12–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Montagnini F, Nair PKR (2004) Carbon sequestration: an underexploited environmental benefit of agroforestry systems. In: Nair PKR, Rao MR, Buck LE (eds) New vistas in agroforestry: a compendium for the 1st world congress of agroforestry, 2004. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp 281–295Google Scholar
  22. Nair PKR, Nair VD (2003) Carbon storage in North American agroforestry systems. In: Kimble J, Heath LS, Birdsey RA, Lal R (eds) The potential of U.S. forest soils to sequester carbon and mitigate the greenhouse effect. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp 333–346Google Scholar
  23. Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (2001) Carbon sequestration, carbon emissions, and Nebraska – background and potential. A report relating the requirements of LB 957 of the 2000 Session of the Nebraska Unicameral and containing the recommendations of the Carbon Sequestration Advisory Committee, December 1, 2001Google Scholar
  24. Olson R, Schoeneberger M, Aschmann S (2000) An ecological foundation for temperate agroforestry. In: Garrett HE et al (eds) North American agroforestry: an integrated science and practice. ASA Special Publication, Madison, WI, pp 31–61Google Scholar
  25. Paul KI, Polglase PJ, Nyakuengama JG, Khanna PK (2002) Change in soil carbon following afforestation. For Ecol Manage 168:241–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Peichl M, Thevathasan NV, Gordon AM, Huss J, Abohassan RA (2006) Carbon sequestration potentials in temperate tree-based intercropping systems, southern Ontario, Canada. Agroforest Syst 66:243–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Perry CH, Woodall CW, Schoeneberger MM (2005) Inventorying trees in agricultural landscapes: towards an accounting of working trees. In: Proc 9th N Am Agroforest Conf. Rochester MN, 12–15 June 2005 [CD-ROM]. Dept Forest Resources, Univ Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, p 5Google Scholar
  28. Perry CH, Woodall CR, Liknes GC, Schoeneberger MM (2008) Fillings the gap: improving estimates of tree resources in agricultural landscapes. Agroforestry Systems. doi:10-1007/s10457-008-9125-6
  29. Ruark G, Schoeneberger M, Nair PK (2003) Agroforestry – helping to achieve sustainable forest management. In: The role of planted forests in sustainable forest management: reports and papers of the UNFF Intersessional Experts Meeting, 25–27 March 2003, Wellington, NZ, pp 240–253 (ISBN-0478-07758-0). [On-line] Available: http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/unff-planted-forestry-meeting/conference-papers/roles-for-agroforestry.htm. Accessed 5 Apr 2005
  30. Sauer TJ, Cambardella CA, Brandle JR (2007) Soil carbon and tree litter dynamics in a red cedar-scotch pine shelterbelt. Agroforest Syst 71:163–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schroeder P (1994) Carbon storage benefits of agroforestry systems. Agroforest Syst 27:89–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sharrow SH, Ismail S (2004) Carbon and nitrogen stores in agroforests, tree plantations, and pastures in western Oregon, USA. Agroforest Syst 60:123–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Turner DP, Koerper GJ, Harmon M, Lee JJ (1995) A carbon budget for forests of the conterminous United States. Ecol Appl 5:421–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. USDA National Agroforestry Center (2000) Working trees for carbon: windbreaks in the U.S. USDA Forest Service and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Lincoln, NE. [Online] Available: http://www.unl.edu/nac/brochures/wbcarbon/wbcarbon.pdf. Accessed 15 Apr 2005
  35. USDA National Agroforestry Center (2003) Incentives for agroforestry: 2002 Farm Bill. Inside Agroforestry. [Online] Available: www.unl.edu/nac/ia/winter03/winter03.pdf. Accessed 20 Apr 2005
  36. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (2005) COMET VR – CarbOn Management evaluation Tool for Voluntary reporting. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. [On-line] Available: http://www.cometvr.colostate.edu/. Accessed 27 Apr 2005
  37. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (2006) Opportunities for managing carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural systems. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. [On-line] Available: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/feature/outlook/Carbon.pdf. Accessed 8 May 2006
  38. US Department of Energy (2005) Draft technical guidelines. Voluntary reporting of greenhouse gases 1605(b) program. March 2005. [On-line] Available: http://www.pi/energy.gov/pdf/library/DraftTechnicalGuideliensMar21.pdf. Accessed 22 April 2005
  39. US Environmental Protection Agency (2006) Representative carbon sequestration rates and saturation periods for key Agricultural & forestry practices. March 2006. [On-line] Available: http://www.epa.gov/sequestration/rates.html. Accessed 9 September 2006
  40. Watson RT, Zinyowera MC, Moss RH (1996) Technologies, policies and measures for mitigating climate change – IPCC Technical Paper I. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. [On-line] Available: http://www.gcrio.org/ipcc/techrepI/index.html. Accessed 5 Apr 2005
  41. West TO, Marland G, King AW, Post WM (2004) Carbon management response curve: estimates of temporal soil carbon dynamics. Environ Manage 33:507–518PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Williams JR, Peterson JM, Mooney S (2005) The value of carbon credits: is there a final answer. J Soil Water Conserv 60:36A–40AGoogle Scholar
  43. Zhou X (1999) On the three-dimensional aerodynamic structure of shelterbelts. PhD. Dissertation, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NEGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USDA National Agroforestry Center, Southern Research StationLincolnUSA

Personalised recommendations