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English translation below
En la actualidad, sabemos que estamos ante una retroalimentación negativa del ciclo del carbono con grandes emisiones de CO2 a la atmósfera y una reducción en el carbono orgánico en los suelos. La conversión de ecosistemas naturales como bosques y matorrales a zonas agrícolas reduce de manera dramática el carbono en los primeros cm del suelo, por lo que, secuestrar y almacenar el CO2 en forma de carbono orgánico en el subsuelo es una de las medidas mas importantes para reducir los impactos de el cambio climático . Las plantas CAM son eficientes en esta tarea y no implican una gran perturbación de los horizontes del suelo con lo que zonas que consideramos poco productivas por su lento ciclo de carbono se podrían incorporar al a estrategia de sumideros de carbono con consecuencias positivas a la biodiversidad a a la seguridad alimentaria.
At present, we know that we are facing a negative carbon cycle feedback, with large CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and a reduction in organic carbon in soils. The conversion of natural ecosystems -such as forests and bushes- to agricultural areas dramatically reduces carbon in the first cm of the soil. Therefore, sequestering and storing CO2 in the form of organic carbon in the subsoil is one of the most important measures to reduce the impact of climate change. CAM plants (plants using crassulacean acid metabolism, such as Cactaceae or Agave), are efficient in this task and do not imply a great disturbance of the soil horizons. Therefore, areas that we consider unproductive due to their slow carbon cycle could be incorporated into the carbon sink strategy, with positive consequences for both biodiversity and food security.
Climate change is already talking its toll on biodiversity and the path humanity has taken of extensive mono crop production with no regard to biodiversity has put enormous strain in ecosystems around the globe,
Plants are key players in any healthy biota. Atmospheric carbon is transformed in to and organic carbon that is then incorporated to the food web. Humanity's food security ,dependent on mono crops like soya, corn,wheat and rice is threatened by climate change and the availability of water sources for irrigation. The crops mention above follow a C3 and C4 photosynthetic pathway which needs regular water availability. The norm with climate change are irregular rain patterns and an increase of global temperatures. We need to plan ahead.
Crassulacean Acid Metabolism plants follow a different photosynthetic pathway one that evolved to be successful in the type of environment we are facing. Their stomata, tiny openings that allow the exchange of gases open an night when the temperatures are cooler, sequester the atmospheric carbon and store it as malic acid, during the day when temperatures rise, they close the stomata minimizing water lose through perspiration and complete their photosynthetic cycle.
Mexico holds the most diverse concentration on cam-plants in the planet and humans here for millennia have been successful in incorporating them as food sources and in many other useful applications that need to be shared .
Permaculture design that incorporates the holistic management of grassland and cam-plants can help restore food security in conflict ridden arid regions around the globe. Same regions that are now triggering mass migrations to northern latitudes caused by the underlying consequence of loss of livelihood.
The agave and cactus is are an important part of the xeric grasslands and scrublands ecosystems, they give nourishment and shelter to a myriad of organisms, help water retention and can be used as anchors to slow erosion, help soil formation and sequester carbon in environments that by nature have slow carbon cycles.
Governing sectors, nonprofits in hand with international agencies can coordinate affords to propagate and educate local farmers to incorporatee indigenous species of cam plants that con be used for sustainable fodder and human consumption in times of drought.
At the Federal and State level, Mexico has implemented programs to propagate cam-plants with a varied rate of success and the experience can be used as a precursor template to implement propagation programs around the globe, in fact many useful species of cam-plants can readily be micro-propagated at relatively low cost.
Below we added some links that can be useful to illustrate some State sponsored efforts to propagate agaves in Mexico.
cam-plants.com is an effort from the civil to bring awareness and incorporate Crassulacean Acid Metabolism plants to our food cycles to face our global warming paradigm. Link academics, farmers and the general public to generate effective propagation strategies.