Agricultural Practices Critical to Fighting Climate Change

NEW YORK – A new report says farming has an important role to play in fighting climate change. The Climate Change and Land Use report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says rising temperatures and severe weather are putting pressure on land, and methods of land use – including agriculture – can help remove carbon from the air. 

According to Jimmy Daukas, senior policy officer at American Farmland Trust, that includes the basic agricultural land management practices his organization has embraced for more than 40 years.

“Things like reduced tillage, keeping the ground covered with cover crops, managing their fertilizer applications, rotating crops – all those things help mitigate climate change,” Daukas said.

The IPCC report emphasized that changes in land-use practices need to be scaled up to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The report also emphasized as climate change progresses, food security will be a critical issue. Daukas noted land-management practices that improve the health of the soil can have a major impact.

“Increasing soil health helps build resiliency to the changing weather, but also helps to increase productivity since soil health can lead to healthier crops and increased yields,” he said.

He added good agricultural practices not only provide both immediate and long-term benefits, they are actually cost effective.

Daukis said the conversion of farmlands for real estate development is another factor putting pressure on land. And he said keeping agricultural land in crop production also helps slow climate change.

“That transformation to development has a significant impact on greenhouse gases because sprawling development causes more vehicle miles and energy use,” he said.

The full Climate Change and Land report is available at IPCC.ch/report.

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