Saturday, June 23, 2012

Climate-smart agriculture to reduce vulnerability

Fabiola Ortiz in IPS: Agroforestry is gaining ground as a tool for climate change adaptation and mitigation in Central America, a region where global warming could generate losses equivalent to 19 percent of gross domestic product.

“Agroforestry is our only alternative to mitigate and adapt to climate change,” Alberto Chinchilla, executive director of the Central American Coordinating Association of Indigenous and Peasant Community Agroforestry (ACICAFOC) told Tierramérica.

A side event of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held Jun. 20-22 in Rio de Janeiro, addressed this “climate-smart” agriculture approach that could help reduce the vulnerability of the Central American region. The meeting was attended by government ministers, scientists, technicians and farmers.

An agroforestry system combines trees with agricultural production and livestock grazing. Its practice, enhanced by scientific research, can contribute to the development of environmentally friendly methods and technologies, said Chinchilla. For example, trees can help in the recovery of water sources, provide protective shade to crops, conserve moisture, and keep pasture lands cooler, reducing the heat stress suffered by cattle.

Agroforestry can also contribute to the recovery of native or endangered tree species while increasing the food security of communities. “Agroforestry links agriculture, food production and trees. We can no longer continue to implement agricultural policies with the Ministry of Agriculture separated from the Ministry of Environment. We must harmonize these policies, and trees must be part of agriculture,” Chinchilla maintained....

A tropical forest, shot by Ramenz, public domain

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