chapter  2
11 Pages

Agricultural mitigation approaches for smallholders: an overview of farming systems and mitigation options: Christina Seeberg-Elverfeldt and Marja-Liisa Tapio-Biström


Agriculture is part of a larger AFOLU or terrestrial carbon landscape1 that can contribute to climate change mitigation. To build a foundation for furthering AFOLU-based mitigation, in 2010 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) conducted a comprehensive search of AFOLU mitigation projects. Eleven registries were searched, including crediting schemes (compliance and voluntary markets) and third-party databases for registered and certified projects for forestry (afforestation/reforestation (A/R) and Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)), manure treatment from livestock, agricultural and rangeland soil carbon activities. The projects were registered by the crediting scheme for credits or listed in a third-party database as being implemented. The results were used to establish the AFOLU mitigation project database with 497 projects (FAO 2010a). It has been created to obtain a

better overview of the developments in the sectors. The database is accessible through the internet ( and updated on an annual basis. The database shows that the majority of AFOLU projects were in Latin and North America (61%), followed by Africa (20%) and Asia (12%); very few projects (2%) were in Europe or Central Asia (Figure 2.1). Manure projects were prominent in Latin America (80% of projects in the region), as well as in Asia (66%), while Africa hosted mainly forestry (64% of projects in the region) and some agricultural soil carbon projects (10%). North America had the highest number of terrestrial carbon projects (39%). Among the developing countries, Africa had the highest share (38%) of terrestrial carbon projects, followed by Latin America (14%). Asia and the Pacific had very few projects (7%), similarly to Europe and Central Asia (2%). Asia had the majority of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, which in the land-based sectors only permits credits for manure, agricultural residues and A/R. Sixty percent of all registered CDM projects were in China and India, and of these only four were terrestrial carbon projects. In the AFOLU mitigation project database these two countries implemented only 11 AFOLU projects, which can be explained by an emphasis on projects in the energy and industrial sectors rather than AFOLU. Generally, not many terrestrial carbon projects were prepared for CDM (Figure 2.2), due to the demanding data requirements, as well as the complexity of the auditing process and methodologies. Only 15 out of 2,262 registered CDM projects were forestry related (UNEP Risoe Centre 2010). Instead, most AFOLU projects were registered with crediting schemes in the voluntary market (40%) or operated independently (20%) not registered under a crediting scheme. Several crediting schemes for voluntary offsets have been created for forestry mitigation activities representing about a quarter of the projects in the database. Fifty percent of these projects were implemented outside crediting schemes. Soil carbon projects represented

Figure 2.1 Project breakdown by region and project type (source: FAO 2010a).