Knowledge for better food systems

Study: How can climate policy benefit from comprehensive land-use approaches?

Scientists at Technische Universität München (TUM) have come up with a new land development concept tailored to medium-sized farms in South America that sees farmers transitioning from large-scale monoculture to more diverse crop mixtures spread over smaller plots interspersed with wooded areas. Their study, published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, evaluated the economic viability of this model, based on a typical medium-sized agricultural holding, and found that although costs are higher in the beginning as a result of reforestation, the combination of woodland management and smaller plots of land pays off in the long term.

Scientists at Technische Universität München (TUM) have come up with a new land development concept tailored to medium-sized farms in South America that sees farmers transitioning from large-scale monoculture to more diverse crop mixtures spread over smaller plots interspersed with wooded areas. Their study, published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, evaluated the economic viability of this model, based on a typical medium-sized agricultural holding, and found that although costs are higher in the beginning as a result of reforestation, the combination of woodland management and smaller plots of land pays off in the long term.

Abstract

Schemes that reward developing countries for mitigating greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions through forest preservation and restoration are becoming more common. However, efforts to reduce GHG emissions must also consider food production. This creates an apparent conflict, given that agricultural production – a key driver of GHG emissions as a consequence of forest clearance – will increase as human populations continue to grow. We propose that a mosaic of small patches of forest mixed with cropland enables sustainable intensification of agriculture by minimizing soil degradation. Economic analyses of this mixed land-use concept suggest an improvement of long-term economic performance of 19-25% relative to conventional industrial agriculture with large-scale monocropping. Adopting this approach requires farm management plans, landscape zoning, and new instruments to finance sustainable agriculture. We conclude that climate policy and food production can be reconciled through an integrative landscape concept that combines this more sustainable method of agricultural intensification with the reforestation of abandoned lands.

Reference

Thomas Knoke, Rosa M Román-Cuesta, Michael Weber, and Wolfgang Haber. 2012. How can climate policy benefit from comprehensive land-use approaches? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 438–445. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/110203

For the article, click here.
For the press release, click here.

You can read related research by browsing the following categories of our research library:
 

Add comment

Member input

Plain text

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Region

Region: 

Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean occupies the central and southern portion of the Americas. The region is home to the world’s largest river (the Amazon River), the largest rainforest (the Amazon Rainforest), and the longest mountain range (the Andes). Export-oriented agriculture constitutes an important part of the economy, especially in Brazil and Argentina. This large continent has a range of climates spanning the ice of Patagonia, the tropical forests of much of the continent, and more temperate regions in, for example, Mexico and Chile. Due to the greatly differing geography and economic development in the continent, all types of agriculture can be found in Latin America. Subsistence farming and cash cropping with coffee, cocoa and so on are common in many nations including most of central America, whereas large-scale beef production in the cerrado of Brazil provides an example of hyper-large farms run by large businesses.

View articles relating to South America

Source

Doc Type