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Agroforestry and biochar to offset climate change: a review

TitleAgroforestry and biochar to offset climate change: a review
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsStavi, Ilan, and Lal Rattan
JournalBiomedical and Life Sciences Agronomy for Sustainable Development

Expansion of agricultural land use has increased emission of greenhouse gases, exacerbating climatic changes. Most agricultural soils have lost a large portion of their antecedent soil organic carbon storage, becoming a source of atmospheric carbon-dioxide. In addition, agricultural soils can also be a major source of nitrous oxide and methane. Adoption of conservation agricultural practices may mitigate some of the adverse impacts of landuse intensification. However, optimal implementation of these practices is not feasible under all physical and biotic conditions. Of a wide range of conservation practices, the most promising options include agroforestry systems and soil application of biochar, which can efficiently sequester large amounts of carbon over the long-run. In addition, these practices also increase agronomic productivity and support a range of ecosystem services. Payments to farmers and land managers for sequestrating carbon and improving ecosystem services is an important strategy for promoting the adoption of such practices, aimed at mitigating climate change while decreasing environmental footprint of agriculture and sustaining food security.