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Reducing your Carbon Footprint: Integrated approaches to reduce emissions and increase carbon sequestration

Farmers hold a unique position to be an innovative part of the solution to climate change, with farming having the potential to act as both a source and a sink for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Climate positive farming is a key guiding principle of LEAF’s 2021-2031 strategy through the adoption of the agroecological and regenerative benefits of the whole farm, site specific focus of Integrated Farm Management (IFM). Developing and advancing relevant, site specific and whole farm approaches underpin LEAF’s capability to deliver climate positive action.

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Opportunities are increasing for farmers and land managers to earn revenues from storing carbon in soils or vegetation, or by reducing baseline GHG emissions from crop and livestock production.

Regenerative farming looks to optimise the use of the ecological system and environment, in order to benefit from the natural ecosystem services that they provide.

The number of tools and calculators available can be daunting. None are necessarily right or wrong, the appropriate tool for you depends on the question you are asking.

Agroecology is a holistic and integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agriculture and food systems. Definition from FAO.

There is a lot of interest in soil carbon currently, due to the opportunity to store and sequester carbon in soil. It is also vital for soil health, forming part of soil organic matter.

LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) is the leading charity organisation delivering more sustainable food and farming. They work with farmers, the food industry, scientists and consumers, to inspire and enable sustainable farming that is prosperous, enriches the environment and engages local communities.

Lots of initiatives are measuring and reporting the carbon or greenhouse footprint of products or activities, including crops, livestock and food.

Climate change threatens our ability to ensure global food security, eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. In 2016, 31 percent of global emissions originating from human activity came from agrifood systems.

The key GHGs for agriculture that contribute directly to climate change are:  Carbon dioxide (CO2)  Methane (CH4)  Nitrous oxide (N2O)   All these GHGs are often grouped under the umbrella term ‘carbon’.