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Organic farming’s role in adaptation to and mitigation of climate change : an overview of ecological resilience and a model case study

Brodin, Gusten LU (2016) In Student thesis series INES NGEK01 20161
Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Abstract
Agriculture is essential for human survival and today it faces many problems related to both climate change and an increasing population. While increased total yields during the 20th century have created the conditions for both global economic and population growth, the agricultural practices utilized have often had detrimental consequences both for ecosystems and people. The agricultural sector is a large emitter of greenhouse gases but it has the potential to mitigate climate change as well. One way that this is possible is by sequestering carbon in soil, which also leads to improved soil quality. With climate change already affecting agriculture, there is an urgent need to increase its resilience. Organic farming is seen by many as both... (More)
Agriculture is essential for human survival and today it faces many problems related to both climate change and an increasing population. While increased total yields during the 20th century have created the conditions for both global economic and population growth, the agricultural practices utilized have often had detrimental consequences both for ecosystems and people. The agricultural sector is a large emitter of greenhouse gases but it has the potential to mitigate climate change as well. One way that this is possible is by sequestering carbon in soil, which also leads to improved soil quality. With climate change already affecting agriculture, there is an urgent need to increase its resilience. Organic farming is seen by many as both an environmental friendly farming system and as a practice with higher intrinsic resilience against climate change. This thesis aims to investigate in what ways these claims might be true and also how organic farming might be used as a way of sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Some of the factors determining resilience in agriculture were found to be biodiversity levels and soil organic carbon sequestration rates. By using a model, LPJ-GUESS, organic farming practices were simulated and compared against a field trial in Norway. While indicating similar results for yield, the modelled soil carbon storage trends contradicted those of the field trials indicating that more factors than those used have to be taken into account when modelling organic farming accurately. The main conclusion, based on a review of published literature, is that more focus will have to be put on ecological processes in agriculture in the future in order to create a resilient and sustainable agriculture. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Jordbruk är avgörande för människans överlevnad och idag står det inför många problem relaterade till både klimatförändringar och en ökande befolkning. Medan ökande totalskördar under 1900-talet har skapat förutsättningar både för global ekonomisk tillväxt och för befolkningstillväxt, har de jordbruksmetoder som används ofta fört med sig negativa konsekvenser både för ekosystem och människor. Jordbrukssektorn är en stor källa av växthusgaser, men den har också potential att minska utsläppen och därmed dämpa klimatförändringarna. Ett sätt som detta är möjligt på är genom att binda kol i marken, vilket även leder till förbättrad jordkvalité. Med klimatförändringar som redan påverkar jordbruk, finns det ett viktigt behov av att öka dess... (More)
Jordbruk är avgörande för människans överlevnad och idag står det inför många problem relaterade till både klimatförändringar och en ökande befolkning. Medan ökande totalskördar under 1900-talet har skapat förutsättningar både för global ekonomisk tillväxt och för befolkningstillväxt, har de jordbruksmetoder som används ofta fört med sig negativa konsekvenser både för ekosystem och människor. Jordbrukssektorn är en stor källa av växthusgaser, men den har också potential att minska utsläppen och därmed dämpa klimatförändringarna. Ett sätt som detta är möjligt på är genom att binda kol i marken, vilket även leder till förbättrad jordkvalité. Med klimatförändringar som redan påverkar jordbruk, finns det ett viktigt behov av att öka dess resiliens. Ekologiskt jordbruk ses av många som både ett miljövänligt jordbrukssystem och som ett system med hög inneboende resiliens mot klimatförändringar. Denna uppsats syftar till att undersöka på vilket sätt dessa påståenden kan vara sanna samt hur ekologiskt jordbruk kan användas som ett sätt att binda kol från atmosfären. Några av de faktorer som framkom som avgörande för resiliens inom jordbruk var biologisk mångfald och mängden organiskt kol i jorden. Genom att använda en modell, LPJ-GUESS, simulerades ekologiska jordbruksmetoder och jämfördes med ett fältförsök i Norge. Modellen gav liknande resultat för skördemängd, men modellerad mängd markkol motsade resultaten i fältförsöken. Detta tyder på att fler faktorer än de som användes måste beaktas om modellering av ekologiskt jordbruk ska kunna ske korrekt. Den huvudsakliga slutsatsen, som bygger på en genomgång av publicerad litteratur, är att mer fokus behöver läggas på agroekologiska processer för att skapa ett resilient och hållbart jordbruk för framtiden. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Brodin, Gusten LU
supervisor
organization
course
NGEK01 20161
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
sustainable agriculture, soil carbon sequestration, organic farming, climate change resilience, LPJ-GUESS, Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
publication/series
Student thesis series INES
report number
379
language
English
id
8881416
date added to LUP
2016-06-17 11:08:38
date last changed
2016-06-17 11:08:38
@misc{8881416,
  abstract     = {Agriculture is essential for human survival and today it faces many problems related to both climate change and an increasing population. While increased total yields during the 20th century have created the conditions for both global economic and population growth, the agricultural practices utilized have often had detrimental consequences both for ecosystems and people. The agricultural sector is a large emitter of greenhouse gases but it has the potential to mitigate climate change as well. One way that this is possible is by sequestering carbon in soil, which also leads to improved soil quality. With climate change already affecting agriculture, there is an urgent need to increase its resilience. Organic farming is seen by many as both an environmental friendly farming system and as a practice with higher intrinsic resilience against climate change. This thesis aims to investigate in what ways these claims might be true and also how organic farming might be used as a way of sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Some of the factors determining resilience in agriculture were found to be biodiversity levels and soil organic carbon sequestration rates. By using a model, LPJ-GUESS, organic farming practices were simulated and compared against a field trial in Norway. While indicating similar results for yield, the modelled soil carbon storage trends contradicted those of the field trials indicating that more factors than those used have to be taken into account when modelling organic farming accurately. The main conclusion, based on a review of published literature, is that more focus will have to be put on ecological processes in agriculture in the future in order to create a resilient and sustainable agriculture.},
  author       = {Brodin, Gusten},
  keyword      = {sustainable agriculture,soil carbon sequestration,organic farming,climate change resilience,LPJ-GUESS,Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Student thesis series INES},
  title        = {Organic farming’s role in adaptation to and mitigation of climate change : an overview of ecological resilience and a model case study},
  year         = {2016},
}