In recent years, studies have shown that agriculture is the activity responsible for expelling at least 13% of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. However, there are now proposals for a considerable reduction in the carbon footprint of the agricultural industry.
Agriculture as a cycle
It is estimated that modern agriculture has a 25% to 30% impact on greenhouse gas emissions. But sustainable and precision agriculture reduces this percentage. Among the main activities that humans use for agriculture are: deforestation, fires, poor management of water resources, all of which cause this activity to suffer the consequences of emissions.
Modern agriculture is responsible for the discharge of large quantities of agrochemicals, organic matter, sediments and salts into the soil and into the main water sources.
Other damages caused by the modern agricultural model include:
Soil tillage influences the dynamics of organic matter as it changes soil moisture and temperature conditions and ,in turn, incorporates residues and periodically breaks down soil structure.
Crop irrigation methods influence the flow of CO2 in the soil, causing a decrease in the amount of water supplied to the crops, which decreases the rate of CO2 in the soil, thus mitigating global warming.
What is carbon farming?
Carbon farming has a proposal to remedy the damage described above. And this alternative lies in an agricultural cycle where it has been found that planting forests and organic material content in cultivated areas can help plant growth, increase total carbon content, improve the water holding capacity of the soil and reduce fertilizer use.
Evidence that soil is a major carbon sink has led many people to want to develop a way to grow carbon-rich soils. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences estimates that at least 3,000 tons of carbon can be captured in the soil by methods suitable for this purpose.
To this end, the carbon farming method proposes that soils be cultivated by cover cropping methods. This means that they can be covered by forest plantings that help carbon sequestration.
Precision agriculture can help reduce the carbon footprint by improving soil organic matter and retaining soil organic carbon. Some positive features of carbon farming include:
Increases sustainable agricultural areas.
It involves soil mapping to keep track of soil composition to determine the remaining nutrients needed.
Reduced use of chemical fertilizers, sulfates and nitrates.
Disease control and prevention is carried out through humidity and temperature controls.
Drones and satellite images are included to indicate the needs of each crop and can prevent the appearance of pests.
Today, many people are looking for green consumption options and carbon farming provides consumers with a process that regenerates the land and the planet, thus raising awareness of the ability to change consumption habits.
Carbon farming offers a greater environmental commitment as well as participation in the goal of reducing the impact of greenhouse gases in the agricultural sector.
A long way to go
Although there is scientific evidence that proves the relationship between carbon farming and carbon sequestration, there are still not large extensions of crops that are carrying out this practice.
The reasons vary, as farmers are just beginning to learn about the carbon farming approach. In addition, some of the farmers who have already started experimenting with carbon seeding methods have found that there are cost overruns in the entire seeding system.
It is expected that by 2050, carbon farming and regeneration methods could be installed in society and replace the modern agricultural system, thus favoring the climate fight.
Join the change!