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FAO Calls for Stronger Involvement of Farming and Forest Communities in Climate Change Mitigation

UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

4 December 2008: Farmers and forest users should become more strongly involved in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in order to unlock the potential of agriculture and forestry for climate change mitigation, said Alexander Müller, Assistant Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in Rome, Italy.

He stated that, despite the fact that agriculture and deforestation

are major contributors to climate change, “farmers and forest users

could become key players in reducing GHG emissions.” In this regard, he

called for financing mechanisms and for small-scale land users and

emission-reducing measures that also contribute to food and energy

security, poverty reduction, and sustainable use of natural resources.

Farmers,

foresters or herders are directly or indirectly managing 40% of the

global land biomass.

Agriculture, deforestation and forest degradation

contribute over 30% of global GHG emissions, while agriculture alone is

responsible for 50% of methane and 75% of nitrous oxide emitted

annually. Müller stated that the “global battle against climate change”

can only be won “if we succeed in mobilizing the potential of these

land users to reduce GHG emissions and in sequestering carbon in soil

and plants.” He outlined measures, such as using more efficient crop

varieties, better control of wildfires, improved natural resource

management, biogas capture from animal manure, and restoring land by

controlled grazing and organic soil management. Furthermore, he noted

that conservation agriculture, and agro-forestry systems are promising

methods that should be more vigorously promoted to reduce GHG emissions

and enhance adaptation to climate change. [FAO Press Release]