Potential of Conservation Agriculture systems for mitigating Climate Change

In October 2008 FAO and the Conservation Technology Information Center with technical support from the UNFCCC secretariat were hosting an international consultation about the potential of Conservation Agriculture systems for sequestering carbon in contributing significantly to the mitigation of climate change. About 80 Experts, from around the world met in West Lafayette/USA to present data about the potential for carbon sequestration with no-tillage cropping systems and other practices, methods and models for assessment of carbon credit trading, and techniques and practices for verification for carbon financing and how this can assist in enabling a reduction of agricultural GHG emissions as well as the use of soils as carbon sink for mitigation of climate change.


The meeting produced some very conclusive results, stating

- that agriculture in different agro climatic situations can significantly contribute to mitigating climate change

- that the protocols for agricultural production to achieve the desired effects are known and feasible

- and that techniques for measurement are available, but verification protocols have to be developed to make carbon schemes operational.


There was a general agreement among the participants that the protocols for agricultural land management to achieve the effects of mitigating climate change resemble the concept of Conservation Agriculture particularly for the purpose of carbon sequestration in soils. Additional complementary measures such as avoidance of soil compaction for example through controlled traffic systems and appropriate management of irrigation water and fertilizer inputs will further lead to a reduction of other relevant greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxides.


The full proceedings of the consultation, including presentations, full papers as well as a framework for action and policy briefs are now available online at www.fao.org/ag/ca/carbonconsult.html.


Core Themes