Restoring whole landscapes through silvopastoralism in Latin America
Silvopastoralism is a cattle production system in which cattle are raised in a biomass-rich, dense environment of trees, shrubs and grasses. It has a documented history of successful restoration of highly degraded pastures in Latin America. The World Bank partnered with CATIE in 2002–2008 in pilot work with 265 farmers operating 12,260 ha of land in Colombia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua to investigate the advantages of silvopastoralism and how PES would work on relatively smaller farms.
Silvopastoral interventions established on 3,673 ha were found to sequester on average 19.6 tonnes of CO2e per ha per year in soils and above-ground biomass combined between 2003 and 2008. Other demonstrable outcomes included better water management, improved biodiversity, decreased soil erosion and sharply decreased use of herbicides. Farmers using the technology could increase stocking by an average of 1.8 head of cattle per ha before, to 2.5 head of cattle per ha afterwards, and their net (market) incomes increased on average by US$44 per ha to US$90 per ha per year (depending on the country). PES receipts based on increasing biodiversity averaged US$74 per ha per year over five years, and were in addition to the farmers’ higher market incomes. The assessment judged PES essential to engaging farmers, but the payments were small, equivalent to US$3.75 per tonne of CO2e (though not targeted to carbon explicitly).
There are indications that, after a long delay, interest in promoting silvopastoral approaches is progressing in the region. The Federación Colombiana de Ganaderos, representing Colombian livestock producers, is very actively promoting the approach for restoration of degraded grazing areas, including using foreign sourced resources such as from the World Bank to promote the activity.
Source :The New climate economy
Authors : Christopher Delgado, Michael Wolosin, and Nigel Purvis
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