Carbon sequestration potential in temperate forestsPosted on Sep 12, 2011 at 16:50:47 Back to Blog Home »
Udawatta, Ranjith P. and Shibu Jose, "Carbon Sequestration Potential of Agroforestry Practices in Temperate North America," Advances in Agroforestry 8(1), 17-42, 2011.
Abstract. Agroforestry, an ecologically and environmentally sustainable land use, offers great promise to sequester carbon (C). The objectives of this chapter are to (1) provide a review of C sequestration opportunities available under various agroforestry practices in temperate North America, and (2) estimate C sequestration potential by agroforestry in the US. Since accurate land area under agroforestry was not available, the potential C sequestration was estimated based on several assumptions about the area under different agroforestry practices in the US: 1.69 million ha under riparian buffer, 17.9 million ha (10% of total cropland) under alley cropping, and 78 million ha under silvopasture (23.7 million ha or 10% of pasture land and 54 million ha of grazed forests). Based on these, we estimated C sequestration potential for riparian buffers, alley cropping, and silvopasture in the US as 4.7, 60.9, and 474 Tg C/year, respectively. Establishment of windbreaks to protect cropland and farmstead could sequester another 8.79 Tg C/year. Thus, the potential for C sequestration under agroforestry systems in the US is estimated as 548.4 Tg/year. The C sequestered by agroforestry could help offset current US emission rate of 1,600 Tg C/year from burning fossil fuel (coal, oil, and gas) by 34%. These preliminary estimates indicate the important role of agroforestry as a promising CO2 mitigation strategy in the US, and possibly in other parts of North America. The analysis also reveals the need for long-term C sequestration research in all regions and for all agroforestry practices, establishment of standardized protocols for C quantification and monitoring, inventory of agroforestry practices, development of models to understand long-term C sequestration, and development of agroforestry design criteria for optimum C sequestration for all regions.
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