Agriculture played a key role in this month’s historic COP21 climate negotiations in Paris, with multiple side events showcasing innovative solutions to climate change through the use of agriculture.
On December 2nd, large themes surrounding agriculture and forests were presented at the climate talks. The themes featured several presentations from NGOs and government groups around the world on each subject.
Here are some highlights from the presentations on forests and agriculture:
The Forest and Woods Alliance presented its project “Plant for the Future,” which encourages the sustainable management of forests, reducing deforestation, and increasing innovation in the forest industry in order to fight against deforestation and climate change. “Plant for the Future” is a private charitable organization that provides funds for projects that encourage sustainable forest management. In 2015, the organization funded 33 projects that replanted more than 160 hectares of forest.
Another key project that was presented was a study by ADEME, France’s Environmental and Energy Management Agency, that studied the relationship between forest and woods management and carbon storage in forestry. Effective management in the forest and wood industry leads to increased stocks of carbon in trees – allowing for human carbon emissions to be partially mitigated.
A third proposal took a look at the future of the French forestry industry. Climate change will lead to disruptions in forest management, and this study placed its focus on possible solutions to these changes. Some of the solutions they studied include replacing certain species of trees that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change by encouraging the planting of species that are hardier and less at risk to the disruptive effects of climate change. By planning for future disruptions now and acting early, we can reduce the amount of damage that climate change might have on forests.
One of the main projects presented in the agricultural sections focused on improving soil quality. By changing the way the agriculture industry treats soils, the quality of the ground can be increased along with the amount of carbon stored underground. The project proposes using more “climate-responsible” agricultural techniques like reducing the amount of large-scale agriculture and replacing them with smaller-scale, ecologically responsible farming practices and improving the way soils are treated through better tilling and planting practices that are less carbon-intensive.
Another project, presented by the NGO CARI, aims to decrease desertification and increase food security through the use of agro-ecology and smaller-scale (and less carbon intensive) agriculture practices. Desertification and food security are major problems in much of the developing world and climate change exacerbates these challenges. Agroecology helps to protect and increase biodiversity in areas at risk from climate change, can help improve water management, encourages diversified agricultural production methods and can help make farming practices more resilient against disruption – all of these are key to helping developing countries tackle the challenge of climate change.