Agriculture has an important role in mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while at the same time needing to overcome the significant technological, social, and economic challenges posed by the expected increase in global food demand, (bio)energy production, and the impacts of climate change on agricultural production itself. Agriculture directly contributes about 14% of global anthropogenic GHG emissions. Many mitigation approaches are currently under investigation and it is likely that many different strategies will be required to lower GHG emissions in agriculture significantly. Organic farming practices are considered to have a significant potential for GHG mitigation through enhancing soil carbon stocks, reducing soil-derived N2O emissions, and by providing various co-benefits including capacities for climate change adaptation.
In previous research projects, optimised on-farm nutrient recycling, optimised crop rotations with legume grass leys, optimised tillage systems and agroforestry were identified as promising practices to reduce GHG emissions, to be technical and economical feasible whilst delivering various important co-benefits to the environment.
From 2014 to 2018, 4 Swedish, 4 German and 4 Italian organic farmers implement a set of unfamiliar climate-friendly practices on parts of their farm. This set of practices has proven potential to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation on an experimental scale. Currently they are still uncommon in wider farm practice but are relatively easily applicable for farmers and have therefore a high potential for ‘up-scaling’.
The practices will be implemented
- on a minimum area of 10ha (0.5ha for intensive horticultural farms)
- on the whole farm for the optimised crop rotations with legume grass leys
- on appropriate areas for agroforestry
The processes will be constantly optimised during the project term through scientific monitoring and constant exchange between the farmers and their advisors.