Changes in forest cover affect the interaction between forests and the global climate system. In addition, the effect on local weather systems creates micro-climates on a smaller scale. These changes impact biological and chemical cycling which can alter agricultural suitability in some areas.
Climate change mitigation has become an integral part of modern society; scientists, politicians, and citizens and non-governmental organizations are working towards finding ways to mitigate our negative impacts on the environment. Integrating perennial poly-cultures into agroforestry systems, along with trees and shrubs, can benefit both the people and the environment.
Trees play a vital role in moderating temperature because they take up carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Fruit trees are especially beneficial because the fruit is edible and can be sold or consumed by farmers or community members. Trees also provide other benefits such as fruits that can be consumed (such as apples), shade from the sun, wind protection, erosion control, and support for wildlife. The paper will focus on fruit trees that are planted in or around agricultural fields because this is an important tool to use to build climate change resistance, especially in developing countries where there are minimal resources available to farmers.
Fruit trees can help develop communities because the forests are created to provide shade for livestock and people, while also providing a home for wildlife, which in turn provides a source of income for the community.
Fruit farming contributes to environmental conservation in various ways such as:
Combating climate change
Soil degradation, deforestation, and inadequate reclamation practices result in loss of soil nutrients and fertility. Planting fruit trees such as macadamia and avocado promote afforestation and reforestation practices which contribute to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and also improve the environment by increasing air and water quality, soil fertility, etc.
Fruit farming helps combat desertification, another major threat of climate change. Desertification refers to the process of fertile land becoming desert, which is primarily caused by deforestation and human degradation. The conversion of forest into farmland accounts for about 10 percent of the world’s annual carbon dioxide emissions. Fruit trees help combat this problem by creating a barrier between the farm and the desert, while simultaneously providing shade for crops and animals grazing on the land, and acting as a source of income to the farmers.
Composting of wastes is done by the farmers; this recycles nutrients back into the soil and reduces methane emission from rotting solid wastes (organic) in dumpsites.
The planted fruit trees help to reduce wind speed and protect field crops from the direct impact of strong winds. This reduces soil erosion, blocks snowdrifts on windy slopes, and also regulates micro climate conditions such as humidity and temperature.
Other ways in which the environment benefits from fruit farming include:
- improved water infiltration and availability
- reduced greenhouse gas emissions through carbon sequestration
- reduced energy needs due to improved micro-climates created by trees
Agroforestry and climate change mitigation – the science
As deforestation is linked to up to 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, agroforestry practices can play a significant role in mitigating climate change.
Through planting and mixing fruits with other crops, agroforestry can help promote biodiversity and create “green economies, ”providing an alternative income source for farmers.
Agroforestry allows farmers to maintain larger areas of forest as income sources through fruit farming.
Fruit farming is an agroforestry practice that can be used to mitigate climate change through:
- The sequestration of carbon in soils and biomass
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and agricultural activities.
The idea of climate change mitigation has been gaining popularity in recent years because people are becoming more aware of the detrimental effects humans have on the environment. To mitigate climate change, we must find ways to reduce our emissions and conserve energy. Fruit farming is a good way for farmers throughout the world to do this, especially in areas where resources are scarce. Venture into fruit farming and be part of the environmental conservation goals. Contact OxfarmAg Ltd for seedlings and kick start an agribusiness that helps both you and the climate.