The scale of economic growth in China during the past three decades is unprecedented in modern human history. However, this fast economic growth puts China’s environment under increasing stresses. This special feature explores the impacts of climate change and human activities on the structure and functioning of ecosystems, with emphasis on quantifying the magnitude and distribution of carbon (C) pools and C sequestration in China’s terrestrial ecosystems.
Soil carbon sequestration plays an important role in mitigating anthropogenic increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Recent studies have shown that biodiversity increases soil organic carbon (SOC) storage in experimental grasslands. However, the effects of species diversity on SOC storage in natural ecosystems have rarely been studied, and the potential mechanisms are yet to be understood. The results presented here show that favorable climate conditions, particularly high precipitation, tend to increase both species richness and belowground biomass, which had a consistent positive effect on SOC storage in forests, shrublands, and grasslands.
In this paper, we assess whether or not organic agriculture has a positive impact on local economies. We first identify organic agriculture hotspots (clusters of counties with positively correlated high numbers of organic operations) using spatial statistics. Then, we estimate a treatment effects model that classifies a county’s membership in an organic hotspot as an endogenous treatment variable.
Farmers around the world are turning to nature to help them reduce pesticide use, environmental impact and, subsequently, and in some cases, increasing yields.
Species’ lifecycles are slowly growing out of alignment, which can affect the functioning of ecosystems, ultimately impacting human food supply and disease.
Agroforestry could play an important role in mitigating climate change because it sequesters more atmospheric carbon in plant parts and soil than conventional farming, according to Penn State researchers.
Adopting a systems view and regenerative philosophy can indicate how to regenerate ecosystem function on commercial-scale agro-ecological landscapes.
Regeneration of Soils and Ecosystems: The Opportunity to Prevent Climate Change: Basis for a Necessary Climate and Agricultural Policy
This white paper analyzes soil destruction as a major cause of climate change, provides examples of ecosystem and soil regeneration, assesses the current situation in the European Union and provides examples of initiatives that would help and support the
The 2016 Food Sustainability Index aims to encourage policy makers to place food and its production issues as high priority items in their policy agendas.
The loss of grasslands is devastating for local ecosystems, and also has long-term, negative effects for ranchers, the hunting industry, and for communities that depend on them for flood prevention and water filtration.
Soil and pulses can make major contributions to the challenge of feeding the world’s growing population and combating climate change.
Coffee lovers, alert! A new report says that the world’s coffee supply may be in danger owing to climate change. In the world’s biggest coffee-producing nation, Brazil, the effects of warming temperatures are already being felt in some communities.
The climate is changing; food and agriculture must too. This was the main message UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) chose to transmit as they honored the global World Food Day 2016 at the FAO Headquarters in Rome.
Young People’s Burden makes clear that rapid reduction of fossil fuel emissions is the most important requirement to assure prospects of young people, but it is not enough. It is also necessary to have a large drawdown of atmospheric CO2 via improved agricultural and forestry practices.
The aim of raising global awareness on the multitude of benefits of pulses was integral to the International Year of Pulses. This coffee table book is part guide and part cookbook— informative without being technical.
What is regenerative agriculture and how can it become a global force that can transform not only farming but our economies and even climate change?
New guidance is now available to help countries decide how to shape the future of food and farming under a global climate agreement.
How to Leave Industrial Agriculture Behind: Food Systems Experts Urge Global Shift Towards Agroecology
Input-intensive crop monocultures and industrial-scale feedlots must be consigned to the past in order to put global food systems onto sustainable footing, according to the world’s foremost experts on food security, agro-ecosystems and nutrition.
A recent study suggests that producing organic foods is correlated with lower poverty and increased household incomes in rural communities.
Farm Input Subsidy Programmes (FISPs): A Benefit for, or the Betrayal of, SADC’s Small-Scale Farmers?
It is clear that a transition to agro-ecology is required as a matter of urgency, to bring about the sustainable food systems of the future.
Scientific reports released for a conference today on disaster risk reduction warn that people are already dying and economies being hit by climate change − and that the dangers are growing.
This study demystifies the myth that organic agriculture needs more space to achieve comparable yields to conventional agriculture.
Scientists have discovered why only certain plants can take in extra carbon dioxide when levels rise and help to reduce global warming.
Humans are not the first creatures to alter Earth’s climate. Termites and dinosaurs have had an impact on climate, too. But modern agriculture is undoing millions of years of grass-grazer co-evolution. Luckily, regenerative agriculture or carbon farming can reverse this damage.
While global agriculture faces a number of challenges, the most surprising challenge to food security may come from agriculture’s impact on our climate.
Rather than producing more food under unequal and ecologically destructive conditions, the solution to hunger hinges on creating a more sustainable, democratic and fair food system for all.
Science has only recently delved into the importance of the microbiome of plants. “Having access to the key microbial strains that help wild plants thrive on just rocks and sand will be crucial for moving agriculture, bioenergy and forestry away from a dependence on chemical fertilizers and towards a more natural way of boosting plant productivity,” Doty said.
Soil4Climate and Tufts Global Development and Environment Institute Release Earth Day Climate Policy Brief – Emphasize Soil
Cutting fossil fuel emissions, on its own, will not suffice to meet the temperature goals set by the agreement reached during the Paris climate negotiations in December 2015.
This paper explains why ecological and regenerative farming systems provide an attractive investment opportunity. It is intended for institutional investors, family offices and investment managers with an interest in real assets and/or impact investing.
Biochars multifunctional role as a novel technology in the agricultural, environmental, and industrial sectors
Biochar can have multfunctional roles in the agricultural and environmental sectors.
In order to ensure long-term sustainability and ecological resilience of agroecosystems, agricultural production should be guided by policies and regenerative management protocols that include ruminant grazing.
The regenerative agriculture movement is growing. In India, Organic India is working with thousands of small family farmers to cultivate tens of thousands of acres of regenerative farmland.
Our broken food system presents communities with an uphill battle to ensure affordable, healthy food for all. Here are five stories of cities finding innovative ways to meet that challenge.
A Continuing Inquiry Into Ecosystem Restoration: Examples From China’s Loess Plateau and Locations Worldwide and their Emerging Implications
A fundamental lesson was learned through the Loess Plateau rehabilitation: It is possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems including those that have been degraded over the course of centuries or even millennia.
Healthy soils are the basis for healthy food production. The most widely recognized function of soil is its support for food production. It is the foundation for agriculture and the medium in which nearly all food-producing plants grow.
This report provides a more complete and up to date as well as carefully documented estimate of the total number of farms in the world, as well as by region and level of income. There are at least 570 million farms worldwide, of which more than 500 million can be considered family farms.
Carbon Finance Possibilities for Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use Projects in a Smallholder Context
This booklet is intended to guide extension service advisors and institutions who work with small-scale farmers and foresters with an interest in Carbon Finance and Carbon Projects. Its aim is to support setting-up carbon projects which involve small-scale farmers.
The soil C sequestration is a truly win–win strategy. It restores degraded soils, enhances biomass production, purifies surface and ground waters, and reduces the rate of enrichment of atmospheric CO2 by offsetting emissions due to fossil fuel.
Linking Agricultural Biodiversity and Food Security: The Valuable Role of Agrobiodiversity for Sustainable Agriculture
There is a growing realization worldwide that biodiversity is fundamental to agricultural production and food security, as well as a valuable ingredient of environmental conservation.
Combined with sequestration in non-agricultural soil, the potential for land to hold carbon and act as a sink for greenhouse gases is unparalleled.
The use of chemical fertilisers this year will likely generate more greenhouse gas emissions than the total emissions from all of the cars and trucks driven in the US. The fertiliser industry has long known that their chemicals are cooking the planet and there is a growing body of evidence that shows that their products are not needed to feed the world. So – Why do 60% of the private sector members of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture come from the fertiliser industry?
Land makes up a quarter of Earth’s surface, and its soil and plants hold three times as much carbon as the atmosphere. More than 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions arise from the land use sector. Thus, no strategy for mitigating global climate change can be complete or successful without reducing emissions from agriculture, forestry, and other land uses.
A global shift towards an agriculture that builds up organic matter in the soil would also put us on a path to removing some of the other major sources of GHGs from the food system
Emerging land uses, such as management-intensive grazing, may offer a rare win-win strategy combining profitable food production with rapid improvement of soil quality and short-term climate mitigation through soil carbon accumulation.
This report explores how States can and must achieve a reorientation of their agricultural systems towards modes of production that are highly productive, highly sustainable and that contribute to the progressive realization of the human right to adequate food.
Small farmers can feed the world: There are over 500 million family farms. They make up over 98% of farming holdings. They are responsible for at least 56% of agricultural production on 56% of the land.
Ever wonder what impact livestock really have on landscapes? According to this study, ruminants consuming only grazed forages under appropriate management result in more carbon sequestration than emissions.
The following portfolio that proves the principles behind Holistic Management includes peer-reviewed journal articles, theses and dissertations, and reports.
Allan Savory describes how cows can save the planet using holistic management. It is time to regenerate. “We have to recognize that it was not livestock causing desertification; it was the way we managed them for centuries. And it is our management that has to change on private and public lands.”
“Beyond the Beginning – The Zero Till Evolution” is a result of the continuing efforts and insights of farmers, scientists, extension and university specialists to understand the dynamics involved with zero tillage farming systems.
Ensuring food security in a context of growing population and changing climate is arguably the principal challenge of our time. The current human population of 7 billion will increase to more than 9 billion by 2050. The onus of this challenge falls on agriculture, which is the sector of the global economy that is most vulnerable to the effects of global warming.
Food & Climate: Connecting the Dots, Choosing the Way Forward, outlines the climate requirements for successful food production, and examines two competing food production methods – industrial and organic – to reveal how they contribute to climate change, how resilient they are in the face of escalating climate shocks, and how organic and related agricultural systems can actually contribute to solving the climate crisis.
Soil Carbon Sequestration in Conservation Agriculture: A Framework for Valuing Soil Carbon as a Critical Ecosystem Service
This report describes the significant contribution that conservation agricultural systems can have on reducing emission of greenhouse gases, as well as sequestering carbon in soil as organic matter. It also outlines the financial benefits for farmers, the benefits to communities and societies, and the environmental benefits of building soil carbon.
Wake Up Before It Is Too Late: Make Agriculture Truly Sustainable Now for Food Security in a Changing Climate
More than 60 international experts have contributed their views to a comprehensive analysis of the challenges and the most suitable strategic approaches for dealing holistically with the inter-related problems of hunger and poverty, rural livelihoods, social and gender inequity, poor health and nutrition, and climate change and environmental sustainability – one of the most interesting and challenging subjects of present development discourse.
The Rodale Institute describes how we could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, namely, “regenerative organic agriculture.
The other shock was to learn that, today, small farms have less than a quarter of the world’s agricultural land – or less than a fifth if one excludes China and India from the calculation. Such farms are getting smaller all the time, and if this trend persists they might not be able to continue to feed the world.