Agroforestry has potential to increase carbon sequestration and corresponds to 1/3 of all CO2-eq emissions in EU

July 23, 2014

Bullet points from the paper: Joris Aertsens, Leo De Nocker, and Anne Gobin, "Valuing the carbon sequestration potential for European agriculture," Land Use Policy, 31 (2013): 584-594, accessed June 4, 2014, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.09.003.

 

- Agricultural practices have the potential to increase C sequestration: corresponding to 37% of all CO2-equivalent emissions in the EU-27 in 2007
- Agroforestry represents 90% of the agricultural practices potential
- This means agroforestry alone has the potential to increase C sequestration corresponding to 33.3% of all CO2-equivalent emissions in the EU-27 in 2007 [AH math: 0.9 x 0.37 = 0.333]
- Trees in agroforestry systems produce 3 times the biomass of trees the same age in forests
- Agroforestry systems are more efficient in biomass production and C sequestration compared to monoculture systems
- A hectare of agroforestry on average sequesters double the yearly average of C of a hectare of forest
- A hectare of agroforestry sequesters 5-10 times more C than a hectare of agricultural land
- The EU-27 has the potential to introduce agroforestry on 140 million ha of land (90 million ha of arable land; 50 million ha of pasture land)
- This is 78.6% of the 178 million ha of total agricultural area in the EU-27 [AH math]
- A questionnaire in 2005 revealed that over 40% of farmers are willing to apply agroforestry on their land
- Agroforestry has a net sequestration potential between 1.5 and 4 tonnes C/(ha year)
- This average of 2.75 tonnes C/(ha year) over 140 million ha results in a potential of 5167 million tonnes CO2-eq

 

Direct quotes from source corresponding to bullet points

 

"Principle results: Agricultural practices like agroforestry, introducing hedges, low and no tillage and cover
crops have an important potential to increase carbon sequestration. The total technical potential in the
EU-27 is estimated to be 1566 million tonnes CO2-equivalent per year. This corresponds to 37% of all CO2-
equivalent emissions in the EU in 2007" (584)

 

"​Gavaland and Burnel (2005) found that trees in agroforestry systems produce up to three times the biomass
of trees of the same age in forests. Combined crop systems with multiple layers above and below ground lead
to a higher efficiency in terms of biomass production and carbon sequestration, compared to monoculture
systems." (587)

 

"the creation of an agroforestry parcel leads to the yearly sequestration of 1.5-4 tonnes C/ha for tree densities
of 50-100 ha-1, which is on average the double of the yearly sequestration of an average ha of forest, and 5-10
times higher than agricultural land." (587)

 

"The total agricultural are in the EU-27 in 2009 accounted 178 million hectare, with 119 million ha of arable land" (588)

 

"Europe has a potential of 90 million ha for productive growth of trees on arable land...[and] about 50 million ha of pasture land in the EU-27" (588)

 

"A questionnaire completed by 260 farmers in seven European countries indicated that farmers are unexpectedly open for adopting agroforestry. More than 40% is willing to apply agroforestry on their land (Dupraz et al., 2005)" (591)

 

"Once the trees on an agroforestry plot are harvested, trees can be replanted, so that a new cycle of carbon sequestration will start." (592)

 

"The introduction of agroforestry is the measure with the highest potential, i.e. 90% of the total potential of the four agri-environmental measures studied. In a European context, agroforestry has a net sequestration potential between 1.5 and 4 tonnes C/(ha year). The average of 2.75 tonnes C/(ha year), applied to a potential of 140 million ha results in a technical potential of 1409 million tonnes C/year in the Eu-27 or 5167 million tonnes CO2-eq." (592)

 

Joris Aertsens, Leo De Nocker, and Anne Gobin, "Valuing the carbon sequestration potential for European agriculture," Land Use Policy, 31 (2013): 584-594, accessed June 4, 2014, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.09.003.

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