CBD COP11: Trees can make agriculture climate resilient

Rio Conventions Pavilion, CBD COP11 (11/10/2012) – Virenda Pal Singh of ICRAF, the World Agroforestry Centre, explains how agroforestry can make arable land resilient to the effects of climate change.

Singh explains that agroforestry consists of growing trees and crops together, with trees either on field boundaries, in rows or in a block. Singh maintains that certain trees have synergies with certain crops. He give the example of rice crops grown in lowlands and highlands, for which different trees are recommended so as to match the differing water supply.

Singh sees agroforestry as contributing towards the sustainability of agriculture, arguing that most field crops are reaching a productivity plateau because of soil exhaustion, and that trees, through decomposition of leaves, can provide new nutrients to the soil.

Singh also describes how trees can create resilience to changes in climate. He explains that trees moderate the microclimate, lowering temperatures by a few degrees during hot days and increasing it during cold ones. He asserts that tree can also have a similar moderating effect on the water cycle.