Agriculture has a vital 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 impact of climate change on agricultural production itself. Agriculture directly contributes about 10% of European anthropogenic GHG emissions (2012). Many mitigation approaches are currently under investigation, and it is clear that many different strategies will be required to lower GHG emissions in agriculture significantly.
Organic farming practices are considered to have a potential for GHG mitigation through enhancing soil carbon stocks, reducing soil-derived N2O emissions by a generally lower nitrogen input, and by providing various co-benefits including building capacities for climate change adaptation.
In previous research projects, optimized on-farm nutrient recycling, optimized crop rotations with legumes, optimised tillage systems, and agroforestry were identified as promising strategies to reduce GHG emissions, which are technically and economically feasible whilst delivering various essential co-benefits to the environment.
From 2014 to 2018, 4 Swedish, 4 German and 4 Italian organic farmers demonstrated a set of 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. Most of them were still uncommon as wider farm practices but are relatively easily applicable for farmers in the EU and have, therefore, a high potential for ‘up-scaling.’