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UNCCD Land Day - 11-06-2011

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements

Adaption and Mitigating Climate Change with Soil Organic Matter in Organic Production Systems
Andre Leu Vice President , IFOAM
Louise Luttikholt for SOEL training 200804101

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Farm Adaption
Adaptation to climate change due to higher soil carbon levels
If the world stopped polluting the planet with greenhouse gases it would take decades years to reverse climate change. Farmers have to adapt to the increasing intensity and frequency of adverse weather events such as droughts and intense damaging rainfall events. Many parts of the planet are experiencing exactly this. Adaption has to be our first priority to ensure food security

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Mitigation of Carbon Dioxide


Well managed Soil Carbon has the greatest potential for both mitigation and adaption Soils are the greatest carbon sink after the oceans Over 2700 Gt of carbon is stored in soils worldwide Atmosphere 780 Gt Biomass 575 Gt most of which is wood.
Source (Lal 2008)

Despite this Soil Carbon and Agriculture are not included in the KP, Cancun Agreements or REDD+

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Soil Organic Carbon Adapts


Organic Higher Yields in Climate Extremes Organic systems have higher yields than conventional farming systems in weather extremes such as floods and droughts. (Drinkwater 1998, Welsh R. 1999) The Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trials found that organic yields were higher in drought years and the same as conventional in normal weather years. (Posner et al. 2008) The Rodale FST showed that the organic systems produced 30 per cent more corn than the conventional system in drought years. (Pimentel D 2005, La Salle and Hepperly 2008)

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Soil Organic Carbon Adapts


Adaptation to climate change due to higher soil carbon levels
Increased aggregate stability (Gerhardt, 1997; Siegrist et al.,
1998; Brown et al., 2000; Maeder et al., 2002; Pulleman et al., 2003; Williams & Petticrew, 2009).

2005)

Improved infiltration rate of water (Lotter et al., 2003;


Pimentel et al., 2005; Zeiger & Fohrer, 2009).

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Increased water holding capacity, higher water content in soil (Brown et al., 2000; Lotter et al., 2003; Pimentel et al.,

Soil Organic Carbon Adapts


Research Shows that Organic Systems use Water More Efficiently

The organic systems captured about twice as much water as the conventional treatment during that two day event (Lotter 2003)

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exceptional water capture capability of the organic treatments stood out during the torrential downpours during hurricane Floyd in September of 1999.

The

Soil Organic Carbon Mitigates and Adapts Higher corn and soybean yields in drought years Increased soil C and N Higher water infiltration Higher water holding cap Higher microbial activity Increased stability

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Organic Matter Increases Infiltration

Organic Using Compost

Conventional

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Adapting to Climate Extremes


System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

Cuba Two rice plants the same age and same variety Building resilience through better soil management By: Dr. Norman Uphoff, Cornell University

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Adapting to Climate Extremes

Photo: Dr. Norman Uphoff, Cornell University

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After typhoon, FFS farmer in Dng Tr village, Hanoi Province, Viet Nam

Adapting to Climate Extremes


Research Shows that Organic Systems use Water More Efficiently

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Soil water held in the crop root zone was measured and shown to be consistently higher in the organic plots than the conventional plots, due to the higher organic matter ... (Lotter 2003)

Sustainability and Adaption


Scientific Review by Cornell University into a 22 yearlong Field Study
The improved soil allowed the organic land to generate yields equal to or greater than the conventional crops after 5 years The conventional crops collapsed during drought years. The organic crops fluctuated only slightly during drought years, due to greater water holding capacity in the enriched soil. The organic crops used 30% less fossil energy inputs than the conventional crops.
Pimental et al 2005 Published in the Journal Bioscience

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Soil Organic Matter Living Carbon


Electron micrograph of soil humus

Holds water Cements soil particles and reduces soil erosion Increases nutrient storage & availability Humus can last 2000 years in the soil

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Soil Organic Matter

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Soil Organic Matter


Research Shows that Organic Systems use Water More Efficiently Volume of Water Retained /ha (to 30 cm) in relation to soil organic matter (OM). 0.5% OM = 80,000 litres (common conventional level) 1 % OM = 160,000 litres (common conventional level) 2 % OM = 320,000 litres 3 % OM = 480,000 litres 4 % OM = 640,000 litres 5 % OM = 800,000 litres

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Organic Corn - 1995 Drought Better infiltration, retention, and delivery to plants helps avoid drought damage

Organic

Conventional

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Composting the logical consequence

Sekem Egypt
Maintain agricultural land or even re-cultivate degraded soils Restore degraded lands

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March 2008

June 2009

Soil Carbon Sequestration


Sekem Farm in Egypt Demonstrated that good organic practices using composts can sequester 14,000 kgs of CO2 per hectare per year - year after year

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Potential for sequestering carbon

Grassland Arable Crops Permanent Crops Total Organic @ 14,000 tonnes per hectare Annual GHG emissions

3,488,000,000 1,405,000,000 130,000,000 5,023,000,000

ha ha ha ha

70 49

Gt CO2 Gt CO2 equ.

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Soil Carbon Sequestration


Research IFOAM that pasture shows Case Study systems are the best at sequestering CO2

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Pasture Cropping

Oats Sown into Pasture

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Pasture Cropping

Oats Sown into Pasture

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MANAGING GROUND COVERS

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Biological activity in soil is stimulated by rootmass activity which feeds microbe communities and generates soil carbon and nutrients for the crop

MANAGING GROUND COVERS

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Soil Aggregation: A Biological Process

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Pasture Cropping

Soil Comparison between Winona and nearby property. Picture: Christine Jones

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Pasture Cropping

The following increases in soil minerals have occurred calcium 277%, magnesium 138%, potassium 146%, sulphur 157%, phosphorus 151%, zinc 186%, iron 122%, copper 202%, boron 156%, molybdenum 151%, cobalt 179% and selenium 117%. (Carbon that Counts: www.ofa.org)

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Pasture Cropping

The sequestration rate in the last two years (2008-2010) has been 33 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year. This increase occurred during the worst drought in recorded Australian history

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Dr Christine Jones has conducted research at Colin Siess property in NSW showing that in the last 10 years 168.5 t/ha of CO2 was sequestered.

Potential for sequestering carbon

Grassland Arable Crops Permanent Crops Total (FAO) Organic @ 33 tonnes per hectare Annual GHG emissions (UNFCC)

3'488'000'000 1'405'000'000 130'000'000 5'023'000'000 165 49

ha ha ha ha Gt C Gt CO2 equ.

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1. Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

Tigray Ethiopia
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7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability (3)

Organic Agriculture and the Millennium Development Goals

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Organic Agriculture prevents soil erosion and land degradation through: Improving soil fertility Preventing wind and water erosion Improving water infiltration and retention capacity

7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability (4)

Organic Agriculture and the Millennium Development Goals

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Yields
20,000 farmers in Tigray, Ethiopia, moved away from intensive agrochemical usage in favor of composting has seen crop yields double and in the range of crops it is possible to grow. Formally one of the most degraded regions of Ethiopia, the environment and the community have been restored and revitalized Source: Nicolas Parrott, Cardiff University, 'The Real Green Revolution

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Yields
A report by the United National Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) stated on Organic Agriculture: the average crop yield was 116 per cent increase for all African projects and 128 per cent increase for the projects in East Africa.
Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa 2008

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Thank You

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