Advertisement

Agroforestry Systems

, 61:281 | Cite as

Carbon sequestration: An underexploited environmental benefit of agroforestry systems

  • F. Montagnini
  • P.K.R. Nair
Article

Abstract

Agroforestry has importance as a carbon sequestration strategy because of carbon storage potential in its multiple plant species and soil as well as its applicability in agricultural lands and in reforestation. The potential seems to be substantial; but it has not been even adequately recognized, let alone exploited. Proper design and management of agroforestry practices can make them effective carbon sinks. As in other land-use systems, the extent of C sequestered will depend on the amounts of C in standing biomass, recalcitrant C remaining in the soil, and C sequestered in wood products. Average carbon storage by agroforestry practices has been estimated as 9, 21, 50, and 63 Mg C ha−1 in semiarid, subhumid, humid, and temperate regions. For smallholder agroforestry systems in the tropics, potential C sequestration rates range from 1.5 to 3.5 Mg C ha−1 yr−1. Agroforestry can also have an indirect effect on C sequestration when it helps decrease pressure on natural forests, which are the largest sink of terrestrial C. Another indirect avenue of C sequestration is through the use of agroforestry technologies for soil conservation, which could enhance C storage in trees and soils. Agroforestry systems with perennial crops may be important carbon sinks, while intensively managed agroforestry systems with annual crops are more similar to conventional agriculture. In order to exploit this vastly unrealized potential of C sequestration through agroforestry in both subsistence and commercial enterprises in the tropics and the temperate region, innovative policies, based on rigorous research results, have to be put in place.

Carbon market Kyoto Protocol PES (payment for environmental services) Policy framework Silvopasture Soil carbon 

References

  1. Alavalapati J.R.R., Shrestha R.K., Stainback G.A. and Matta J.R. 2004. Agroforestry development: An environmental economic perspective. (This volume).Google Scholar
  2. Alavalapatti J.R.R. and Nair P.K.R 2001. Socioeconomic and institutional perspectives of agroforestry: an overview. pp. 52–62. In: World Forests, Markets and Policies, Vol. 2 in the series World Forests, Kluwer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  3. Bass S., Dubois O., Mouracosta P., Pinard M., Tipper R. and Wilson C. 2000. Rural Livelihood and Carbon Management. IIED Natural Resources Paper No. 1. International Institute for Economic Development. London, UK.Google Scholar
  4. Bateman I.J. and Willis K.G. (eds) 1999. Valuing Environmental Preferences: Theory and Practice of Contingent Valuation Method in the US, EU, and Developing Countries. Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Beer J., Bonnemann A., Chavez W., Fassbender H.W., Imbach A.C. and Martel I. 1990. Modelling agroforestry systems of cacao (Theobroma cacao) with laurel (Cordia alliodora) or poro (Erythrina poeppigiana) in Costa Rica. V. Productivity indices, organic material models and sustainability over ten years. Agroforest Syst 12: 229–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brooks D.J. 1993. U.S. forests in a global context. USDA For. Serv. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-228. US For. Serv. Rocky Mountain For. and Range Exp. Stn, Ft. Collins, CO.Google Scholar
  7. Cairns M.A. and Meganck R.A. 1994. Carbon sequestration, biological diversity, and sustainable development: integrated forest management. Environ Manag 18: 13–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clason T.R. and Sharrow S.H. 2000. Silvopastoral practices. pp. 119–147. In: Garrett H.E., Rietveld W.J. and Fisher R.F. (eds) North American Agroforestry: An Integrated Science and Practice. Am. Soc. Agronomy, Madison, WI.Google Scholar
  9. Cooper J.C. and Kleim R.W. 1996. Incentive payments to encourage farmer adoption of water quality protection practices. Am J Agr Econ 78: 54–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dixon R.K. (1995) Agroforestry systems: sources or sinks of greenhouse gases? Agroforest Syst 31: 99–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dixon R.K., Winjum J.K., Andrasko K.J., Lee J.J. and Schroeder P.E. 1994. Integrated systems: assessment of promising agro-forest and alternative land-use practices to enhance carbon conservation and sequestration. Climatic Change 30: 1–23.Google Scholar
  12. Duguma B., Gockowski J. and Bakala J. 2001. Smallholder cacao (Theobroma cacao Linn.) cultivation in agroforestry systems of West and Central Africa: challenges and opportunities. Agroforest Syst 51: 177–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Evans J. 1999. Planted forests of the wet and dry tropics: their variety, nature, and significance. New Forestry 17: 25–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. FAO 2000. Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000. Main Report. FAO, Rome, Italy 512 pp.Google Scholar
  15. FAO 2001. State of the world's forests 2001. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome, Italy, 181 pp.Google Scholar
  16. FAO 2003. State of the World's Forests 2003. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome, Italy, 126 pp.Google Scholar
  17. Follett R.F., Kimble J.M. and Lal R. (eds) 2001. The Potential of U. S. Grazing Lands to Sequester Carbon and Mitigate the Greenhouse Effect. Lewis Publ., Boca Raton, FL.Google Scholar
  18. Garrett H.E. and McGraw R.L. 2000. Alley cropping practices. pp. 149–188. In: H.E. Garrett, W.J. Rietveld and R.F. Fisher (eds) North American Agroforestry: An Integrated Science and Practice, Am. Soc. Agronomy, Madison, WI.Google Scholar
  19. Harmon ME (2001) Carbon sequestration in forests: addressing the scale question. J Forest 99 (4): 24–29.Google Scholar
  20. Houghton R.A., Davidson E.A. and Woodwell G.M. 1998. Missing sinks, feedbacks, and understanding the role of terrestrial ecosystems in the global carbon balance. Global Biogeochem Cy 12: 25–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. ICRAF 1995. International Centre for Research in Agroforestry. Annual Report, 1995. ICRAF, Nairobi, 288 pp.Google Scholar
  22. IPCC 2000. Special Report on Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry. Summary for Policy Makers. Geneva, Switzerland. 20 pp.Google Scholar
  23. Johnsen K.H., Wear D., Oren R., Teskey R.O., Sanchez F., Will R., Butnor J., Markewitz D., Richter D., Rials T., Allen H.L., Seiler J., Ellsworth D., Maier C., Katul G. and Dougherty P.M. 2001. Meeting global policy commitments: Carbon sequestration and southern pine forests. J Forest 99 (4): 14–21.Google Scholar
  24. Koskela J., Nygren P., Berninger F. and Luukkanen O. 2000. Implications of the Kyoto Protocol for tropical forest management and land use: prospects and pitfalls. Tropical Forestry Reports 22. University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Ecology. Helsinki. 103 pp.Google Scholar
  25. Kursten E. 2000. Fuelwood production in agroforestry systems for sustainable land use and CO2 mitigation. Ecol Eng 16: S69–S72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lal R., Kimble J.M., Follett R.F. and Cole C.V. (eds) 1999. The Potential of U. S. Cropland to Sequester Carbon and Mitigate the Greenhouse Effect. Lewis Publ, Boca Raton, FL.Google Scholar
  27. Lott J.E., Howard S.B., Ong C.K. and Black C.R. 2000a. Long-term productivity of a Grevillea robusta-based overstorey agroforestry system in semi-arid Kenya. I. Tree growth. Forest Ecol Manag 139: 175–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lott J.E., Howard S.B., Ong C.K. and Black C.R. 2000b. Long-term productivity of a Grevillea robusta-based overstorey agroforestry system in semi-arid Kenya. II. Crop growth and system performance. Forest Ecol Manag 139: 187–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Loveland T.R. and Belward A.S. 1997. The IGBP-DIS global 1 km land cover data set, DISCover ® first results. Int J Remote Sens 18: 3289–3295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Montagnini F. 2001. Strategies for the recovery of degraded ecosystems: experiences from Latin America. Interciencia 26(10): 498–503.Google Scholar
  31. Montagnini F., González E., Rheingans R. and Porras C 1995. Mixed and pure forest plantations in the humid neotropics: a comparison of early growth, pest damage and establishment costs. Commonw Forest Rev 74: 306–314.Google Scholar
  32. Montagnini F. and Mendelsohn R. 1996. Managing forest fallows: improving the economics of swidden agriculture. Ambio 26: 118–123.Google Scholar
  33. Montagnini F. and Porras C. 1998. Evaluating the role of plantations as carbon sinks: an example of an integrative approach from the humid tropics. Environ Manag 22: 459–470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Myers N. 1996. The world's forests: problems and potential. Environ Conserv 23(2): 156–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nair P.K.R. 2001. Agroforestry. pp. 375–393. In: Our Fragile World: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development, Forerunner to The Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. UNESCO, Paris, France & EOLSS, UK.Google Scholar
  36. Nair P.K.R., Buresh R.J., Mugendi D.N. and Latt C.R. 1999. Nutrient cycling in tropical agroforestry systems: Myths and science. p. 1–31. In: Buck L.E., Lassoie J.P. and Fernandes, E.C.M. (eds), Agroforestry in Sustainable Agricultural Systems. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA.Google Scholar
  37. Nair P.K.R. and Nair V.D. 2003. Carbon Storage in North American Agroforestry Systems. pp. 333–346. In: J. Kimble, L.S. Heath, R.A. Birdsey and R. Lal (eds) The Potential of U.S. Forest Soils to Sequester Carbon and Mitigate the Greenhouse Effect. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA.Google Scholar
  38. Noweg T.A. and Kurtz W.B. 1987. Eastern black walnut plantations: an economically viable option for conservation of reserve lands within the corn belt. North J Appl Forest 4: 158–160.Google Scholar
  39. Oren R., Ellsworth D.S., Johnsen K.H., Phillips N., Ewers B., Maler C., Schaefer K.V.R., McCarthy H., Hendrey H., McNutty S.G. and Katul G.G. 2001. Soil fertility limits carbon sequestration by forest ecosystems in a CO2-enriched atmosphere. Nature 411: 469–471.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Palm C.A. and 17 others 2000. Carbon sequestration and trace gas emissions in slash-and-burn and alternative land-uses in the humid tropics. Final Report, Alternatives to Slash and Burn (ASB) Climate Change Working Group, Phase II. ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya.Google Scholar
  41. Parrish J., Reitsma R. and Greensberg R. 2003. Cacao as crop and conservation tool. http://nationalzoo.si.edu/conservationandscience/ migratorybirds/research/cacao/parrish.cfm.Google Scholar
  42. Piotto D., Montagnini F., Ugalde L., and Kanninen M. 2003. Performance of forest plantations in small and medium sized farms in the Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica. Forest Ecol Manag 175: 195–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ruark G.A., Schoeneberger M.M. and Nair P.K.R. 2003. Agroforestry-Helping to Achieve Sustainable Forest Management. UNFF (United Nations Forum for Forests) Intersessional Experts Meeting on the Role of Planted Forests in Sustainable Forest Management, 24–30 March 2003, New Zealand. www.maf.govt.nz/unff-planted-forestry-meetingGoogle Scholar
  44. Schlesinger W.H. and Lichter J. 2001. Limited carbon storage in soil and litter of experimental forest plots under increased atmospheric CO2. Nature 411: 466–468.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schroeder P. 1992. Carbon storage potential of short rotation tropical tree plantations. Forest Ecol Manag 50: 31–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Schroeder P. 1994 Carbon storage benefits of agroforestry systems. Agroforest Syst 27: 89–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Schroth G., D'Angelo S.A., Teixeira W.G., Haag D. and Lieberei R. 2002. Conversion of secondary forest into agroforestry and monoculture plantations in Amazonia: consequences for biomass, litter and soil carbon stocks after 7 years. Forest Ecol Manag 163: 131–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Schulze E.D., Wirth C. and Heimann M. 2000. Managing forests after Kyoto. Science 289: 2058–2059.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sharrow S.H. and Ismail S. 2004. Carbon and nitrogen storage in agroforests, tree plantations, and pastures in western Oregon, USA. Agroforest Syst 60: 123–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Shepherd D. and Montagnini F. 2001. Carbon Sequestration Potential in mixed and pure tree plantations in the humid tropics. J Trop For Sci 13: 450–459.Google Scholar
  51. Shivley G.E., Zelek C.A., Midmore D.J. and Nissen T.M. Carbon sequestration in a tropical landscape: An economic model to measure its incremental cost. Agroforest Syst (in press).Google Scholar
  52. Shrestha R.K. and Alavalapati J.R.R. Valuing environmental benefits of silvopasture practices: A case study of the Lake Okeechobe Watershed in Florida. Ecol Econ (in press).Google Scholar
  53. Smith J. and Scherr S.J. 2002. Forest Carbon and Local Livelihoods: Assessment of Opportunities and Policy Recommendations. CIFOR Occasional Paper 37, Centre for International Forestry Research, Jakarta, Indonesia.Google Scholar
  54. Thevathasan N.V. and Gordon A.M. Enhancing greenhouse gas (GHG) sinks in agroecosystems through agroforestry based landuse practices in Canada. Forest Chron (in press).Google Scholar
  55. Tipper R. 2002. Helping indigenous farmers to participate in the international market for carbon services: the case of Scolel Té pp. 222–233. In: Pagliola S., Bishop J. and Landell-Mills N. (eds), Selling Forest Environmental Services. Market-based Mechanisms for Conservation and Development. Earthscan, London.Google Scholar
  56. Tomich T.P., de Foresta H., Dennis R., Ketterings Q., Murdiyarso D., Palm C., Stolle F., and van Noordwijk M. 2002. Carbon offsets for conservation and development in Indonesia? Am Alt Agr 17: 125–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. USDA 1996. Grazing lands and people: A national program statement and guidelines for the cooperative extension service. USDA Ext. Serv., Dec. 1996. USDA, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  58. USDA-SCS 1989. Soil,Water, and Related resources on Nonfederal Land in the United States: Analysis of Conditions and Trends. Misc. Publ. 1482, Second RCA Appraisal, USDA Soil Cons. Serv., Washington DC.Google Scholar
  59. US Dept of Energy 1999. Carbon Sequestration: State of Science. Draft Report. Ch. 4: Carbon Sequestration in Terrestrial Ecosystems. USDE, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  60. van Noordwijk M., Rahayu S., Hairiah K., Wulan Y.C., Farida A. and Verbist B. 2002. Carbon stock assessment for a forest-to-coffee conversion landscape in Sumber-Jaya (Lampug, Indonesia): from allometric equations to land use change analysis. Science in China Series C-Life Sciences 45: 75–86 Suppl. S OCT 2002. Science in China Press, Beijing.Google Scholar
  61. Watson R.T., Noble I.R., Bolin B., Ravindranath N.H., Verardo D.J. and Dokken D.J. (eds) 2000. Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Special report. Cambridge Univ. Press. New York.Google Scholar
  62. Workman S.W., Bannister M.E. and Nair P.K.R. 2003. Agroforestry potential in the southeastern United States: Perceptions of landowners and extension professionals. Agroforest Syst 59: 73–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Young A. 1997. Agroforestry for Soil Management. 2nd Ed. C.A.B. International. Wallingford, UK, 320 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Montagnini
    • 1
  • P.K.R. Nair
    • 2
  1. 1.Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesUSA
  2. 2.University of Florida, School of Forest Resources and ConservationGainesvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations