Agroforestry, a necessity for a neutrality carbon intended
Carbon neutrality by 2050 is one of the challenges of the climate plan enacted by Nicolas Hulot, Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition. Carbon neutrality means that France will no longer emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The emissions of this powerful greenhouse gas will be totally offset by carbon sinks that will absorb them. To reach this goal, the development of agroforestry is essential. At the time of massive deforestation around the world, agroforestry allows the reforestation of the land without losing their productivity, on the contrary.
What is a carbon sink ?
A carbon sink stores carbon through photosynthesis of plants. Natural carbon sinks are the ones that play the biggest role around the world.These are forests, peatlands, grasslands, soils and of course oceanic phytoplankton. In order to store more carbon, man creates artificial carbon sinks. Carbon is captured, transported and injected into the deep waters of the oceans or into geological pockets where it will be retained.
Agroforestry, a new natural carbon sink
Current agriculture confuses intensity and uniqueness. The fields are flat, without trees, virgins of any other species than that destined by the farmer to grow there. Agricultural land is gradually losing all organic matter to store carbon as a result of plowing and monoculture.
Agroforestry makes it possible to fill these problems as well as store carbon. It is the association of trees and crops or meadows of grass on the same parcel.
Trees can be planted in a straight line in the field but also as hedges to de-limit it with the neighboring parcel.
They constitute a not insignificant stock of carbon both in their wood and leaves, but also in the soil which is enriched in depth with organic matter by the continual decomposition of their fine roots.
An agroforestry stand of 100 trees can store 2 tons / ha / year of carbon.
The benefits of agroecology
This approach increases the capacity of an environment to absorb and conserve carbon. This is a very interesting solution in the fight against climate change
Moreover, recent studies demonstrate that yields would be better by cultivating several plants on the same parcel through interactions between them. It would be nevertheless only an mimicry of what happens in the natural state.
The benefits of agroecology are many : new more aesthetic agricultural landscapes, year-round soils, pluricultures allowing the farmer to gain remuneration and attract biodiversity, limiting soil erosion , a windbreak effect, a greater resilience in the face of water and thermal stresses which have considerably disrupted agricultural production since the beginning of the 20th century and of course a new capacity for carbon storage.
Agroforestry is the carbon sink whose role in the future is the most important. His potential is immense. Indeed, it is practically not practiced at present, while agricultural land accounts for 50% of the surface of French territory. It is essential for achieving the objective of carbon neutrality. It remains to apply a real policy of agroforestry in the years to come.