Yearly Archives: 2016

Trees on agricultural land sink four times more carbon

tree_agricultureTrees grown on agricultural land significantly contribute to global carbon budgets, say authors in this recent study.

If carbon from trees grown on agricultural land was well accounted for, total carbon estimates for agricultural land would be more than four times higher than they currently are, they add.

This is good news, and getting better: between 2000 and 2010, tree cover on agricultural land increased –three percent, resulting in a 4.6 percent increase in biomass carbon globally.

Yet while the importance of carbon stored by forests is widely recognized, carbon stored by trees on agricultural land has been much ignored, authors say.

Total carbon estimates for agricultural land could be more than four times higher

African Nations Poised to Rapidly Accelerate Landscape Restoration

21653208749_a15cc4566d_z_0The momentum for large-scale restoration has never been stronger. Restoration is increasingly recognized as a key strategy to meet climate change and sustainable development goals as well as growing demand for food, water and energy.

In October 2015, the African Union endorsed a target to restore 100 million hectares (247 million acres) of degraded land by 2030. The African Forest Landscape Restoration initiative (AFR100) was launched at COP21 to facilitate action towards this target, and as a contribution to the Bonn Challenge and African Resilient Landscapes Initiative (ARLI). AFR100 connects African nations with targeted technical and financial support to scale up restoration on the ground.

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Indian farmers fight against climate change using trees as a weapon


In 19 years, Ramu Gaviti’s six acres of land have gone from barren, dry and sparsely vegetated to fertile, moist and thick with biomass. Peacocks, wild pigs and rabbits have reappeared and in rejuvenated rivers, boys trap fish in baskets.

Gaviti once scratched $29 (£23) worth of millet and grass per acre per year. In bad years he left his smallholding in Jawhar, in the hills to the north-east of Mumbai, and went to mine sand at the coast for construction. “Sometimes you feel as if you can go in the river and drown,” said the farmer, who has heard of 50 men who never returned. Now he has more than 1,000 fruit, nut and forest trees, paddy rice, a tractor, a brick house, and an income the equivalent of $1,200 (£975) a year.

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Stretching the carbon goals: Agroforestry experts want new partnerships and a boost for research


“The contribution of trees in agriculture into the global carbon balance is still widely ignored. And if we don’t … start really blasting this message around the world, we are missing one of the biggest opportunities that this institution has had for many, many years.”

This is how Dennis Garrity, UN’s Drylands Ambassador and former Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), addressed his colleagues at the annual Science Week held in Nairobi at the beginning of September.

He said that there is a huge carbon storage potential of over four tons of carbon per ha per year on average. “So the main question is: How do we dramatically increase carbon stocks in agriculture?”

Garrity suggested leveraging countries Intended National Determined Contributions (INDC) to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions for theAfrican Forest and Landscape Restoration Initiative AFR100. It’s neither “too late nor too early” because 22 African countries have made commitments of a total of 59 million hectares they want to restore. According to Garrity, these countries will realize that the dominant way they are going to meet their commitments is through agroforestry. Land restoration will also happen in croplands and pasture lands. “In many countries, agroforestry has already been seen as the major vehicle for land restoration,” he affirmed.

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Restoring Land, Lives and Peace in Global Arcs of Conflict


Dr. Dennis Garrity, Drylands Ambassador for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Distinguished Senior Research Fellow, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and Chair of the EverGreen Agriculture Partnership, speaking on bringing together land restoration and peacebuilding for a sustainable future in conflict-prone drylands.

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‘No one leaves any more’: Ethiopia’s restored drylands offer new hope


Migration is no longer the only option for many young Ethiopians, as careful restoration revives livelihoods on eroded and deforested land.

Kahsay Gebretsadik was arrested at 5am in Saudi Arabia. As an illegal immigrant with no papers he knew this was the end of his stay. After 15 days in prison, police placed him on a plane to Addis Ababa, one of 160,000 Ethiopian migrants expelled from Saudi Arabia in recent years. A perilous trek out of Ethiopia followed by two years of back-breaking work for a Bengali building contractor had come to nothing.

Gebretsadik, now 30, is one of nine children. The family has just 0.6 acres of land in the semi-arid state of Tigray, where only 400-800mm of rain falls a year. The land offered no work and Gebretsadik failed to find a job after school – even though his country’s economy had been growing by double digits for a decade – so when he heard “interesting stories” from friends, he opted to migrate.

As is most often the case in Africa, he headed to a nearby region. “I walked through Djibouti and then to Yemen,” he told me. “Because our journey was illegal, we were guided by brokers. We walked day and night for more than a month – 170 males and females. Sometimes the brokers fought. It was not good for me.”

Now home again in Gergera in far north Ethiopia, Gebretsadik is hopeful that land restoration will allow him to stay there. He has joined a group of 15 that includes four other returnees, and they are running a business producing tree seedlings and fodder grass for farmers and to support regreening in their local authority.

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