Submitted to: World Agroforestry Congress
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/23/2009
Publication Date: 8/23/2009
Citation: Neely, C., Hoey, J., Franzluebbers, A.J. 2009. Sequestering carbon and enhancing livelihoods through sustainable agro-sylvo-pastoral systems on small holder farms. World Congress of Agroforestry, August 23-28, 2009, Nairobi, Kenya. Interpretive Summary: .
Technical Abstract: Changing rainfall and temperature patterns have increased the vulnerability of limited resource farmers and pastoralists worldwide making achieving livelihoods goals an even greater stretch. Cheap external inputs of fuel and fertilizers are no longer a reality or possibility. Growing evidence indicates that sustainable integrated farming systems based on agroecological principles can equal or surpass conventional agriculture productivity while having greater potential to improve the supporting natural resource base. Representatives of government, the scientific community, development organizations and civil society are recognizing that agroecological practices play an important role in mitigating carbon and nitrogen emissions as well as reducing the risks associated with climate change. Heifer International, in collaboration with the USDA-ARS, farmers and host-country researchers, has carried out a pilot study and indicative farming systems analyses on project sponsored integrated agro-silvo-pastoral farming systems in 8 countries around the world. From initial analyses, we identified farming systems that contributed to enhanced livelihoods and productivity, biodiversity, carbon sequestration and adaptation capacity. These systems included a) livestock manure, compost, and crop management practices that build soil organic matter and enhance water infiltration and retention; b) utilizing nitrogen-fixing trees for forage, litter, and firewood; c) establishing fruit trees; d) growing forage grass on terraces or fodder plots; and e) incorporating improved wood-burning stoves. In many cases, when local tree species were established in hedgerows and as field borders at higher altitudes, farmers have reported considerably extended frost free days due to the micro-climate effect. This paper reports the results of indicative farming systems analyses for carbon and nitrogen on integrated agro-silvo-pastoral systems from countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.