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FAO: Global survey of agricultural mitigation projects

arton2974In light of its "Mitigation of Climate Change in Agricture” (MICCA) project, which aims to mitigate climate change in developing countries by making their agricultural sector more carbon friendly, among others through reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the creation of carbon sinks, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently released the outcomes of a Global survey of agricultural mitigation projects.

The Global Survey was launched in April 2010 in order to review currently existing agricultural mitigation projects and to better understand their differences in scope, objectives, and activities.

The survey highlights that an increasing world population, as well as growing environmental vulnerability of developing countries – largely as a result of climate change – have brought increased international attention to the importance of land-based activities, such as agriculture. It estimates that approximately 75% of the people living in rural areas are depending in some way or another on agriculture, forestry and fisheries for their livelihood. However, it also warns that climate change, influencing rain fall and the natural cycle of seasons, could seriously affect these people’s traditional systems of crop production and income stability.

While agriculture and other land-based activities are among the major emitters of GHG, the report notes that agriculture, forestry and other land-use systems also have the capacity to support people in coping with the effects of climate change, enhancing food security and diversifying income sources, as these systems retain a high potential to reduce GHG emissions and consequently climate change threats. Therefore, reducing GHG emissions within the agricultural sector should not incline a decrease in agricultural production. Rather, agricultural production can be enhanced by shifting to sustainable agricultural practices and by making climate-smart adjustments to local conditions, e.g. through technological innovation, the report argues. Besides, the report notes that improved land management will reduce pollution prevent deforestation, loss of biodiversity and soil erosion.

By examining 50 mitigation projects in developing countries, the Global Survey finds that there is a large variety in the types of projects, their objectives and methodologies as well as in their regional distribution, land-use practices, size, and implementation phase. Although the benefits arising from these projects differ largely, the survey highlights that most projects bring ecological benefits, off-site environmental benefits and socio-economic benefits. They can, for example, advance knowledge on practices; contribute to increases in farm incomes and crop yields; raise environmental awareness; improve community livelihoods and reduce deforestation.

The Global Survey on Agricultural Mitigation Projects is available online.

For more information on FAO’s MICCA Project, click here.

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