Trees near homes boost incomes, sequester carbon
A form of small-holder agroforestry in which trees are planted around the home, maximizing the land left available for cash crops, may prove the best balance between sequestering carbon and making money by farming other crops, a study has found. There has been a proliferation of projects that encourage small-scale farmers to adopt tree planting as part of efforts to sequester carbon from the atmosphere to help mitigate climate change. But there is a conflict of policy interests because trees can take up land used for growing cash crops, thereby reducing farmer's profits. In many cases there are no payments for planting trees and, even where there are, the money does not match the lost profits from crops.
Researchers from the London School of Economics (LSE), United Kingdom, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, assessed seven different tree-planting systems in the N'hambita Community Carbon Project, in rural Mozambique, for the value of crops and the amount of carbon sequestered.
These included planting trees in fruit orchards; in dedicated woodlots; within or around their agricultural fields; or around the house on land not previously used for agriculture.