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Climate-smart agriculture should be livelihood-smart too
Date:12/2/2011

Encouraging climate-smart agriculture can lead to climate change adaptation practices in a partnership where the farmer's needs are addressed.

"Climate-smart agriculture has the potential to increase sustainable productivity, increase the resilience of farming systems to climate impacts and mitigate climate change through greenhouse gas emission reductions and carbon sequestration," says Henry Neufeldt the lead expert on climate change at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

Agroforestry the growing of trees on farms is one such climate-smart agricultural practice, and it has tremendous potential for both climate change adaptation and mitigation as well as providing a source of fuel, food, medicine and supplementing the diets of smallholder farmers.

Tree-based farming systems need to be encouraged as part of a low carbon emissions development pathway and adaptation strategy. For example, in tropical forest margins, agroforestry has been used in several protected area landscape buffer zones and within conservation areas as one way of alleviating pressure on forests for timber, thereby reducing deforestation and the resultant loss of carbon sinks.

Drawing lessons from the Philippines, a newly released policy brief from the ASB Partnership shows that programmes to support such initiatives are more likely to succeed in areas that are already deforested or where remaining forests are effectively protected, and where farmers have secure land tenure.

However, agricultural methods that focus on climate change solely will not be as successful as methods that focus on improving farmer livelihoods. Food security is the central focus for many smallholder farmers. In her work, Tannis Thorlakson, a scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre discovered that smallholder farmers in western Kenya are aware that their climate-coping strategies are not sustainable because they are forced to rely on actions that have negative long-term repercussions. These
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Contact: Paul Stapleton
p.staopleton@cgiar.org
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
Source:Eurekalert

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