Carbon Sequestration in Agroforestry

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Wotherspoon, Amy
Tree-based intercropping (TBI) is the intentional incorporation of trees into farming systems to allow for production on the same area of land in order to obtain a higher level of economic, ecological and environmental benefits beyond that of traditional agriculture (Thevathasan et al., 2004). This presentation describes how these benefits can mitigate climate change and provide a practical solution to regional development goals. This presentation will discuss how three hardwood species and two conifer species in a 25-year-old temperate ecosystem sequester atmospheric carbon into above- and below-ground biomass and soil to mitigate climate change - potential sequestration rates at four times that of conventional agricultural systems (Peichl et al., 2006). This presentation will also discuss that with the contribution of litterfall (absent in conventional agricultural fields), there is higher accumulation of soil organic carbon in the soils (Jenkinson and Rayner, 1977, Parton et al., 1987). Current analysis shows higher concentration in the direction of the predominant wind direction (east), at distances further from the tree rows (i.e. 2.0m) and at shallower depths (i.e. 0-20cm). This accumulation of organic carbon can have implications for carbon sequestration, crop yields and long term soil stability in TBI systems. With sustainable TBI farming practices, landowners benefit from longer harvesting practices, and additional profits from their selection of trees. With the proper policy implementation in the future, landowners may also find an opportunity for tax incentives and carbon credits.
Environmental Science Panel Link to Prezi presentation: