How permaculture in the Caribbean can help mitigate climate change

Soil. Image: CIAT
Agriculture

Maintaining and improving soil health is an integral aspect of sustainable agriculture. Not only are healthy soils more productive, they also help to mitigate climate change by absorbing greenhouses gases from the atmosphere. As Daphne Ewing-Chow, writing for Forbes, explains, this is why regenerative agriculture, which reverses land degradation and restores soil health, should be an important part of Caribbean approaches to climate resilience:

In the Caribbean, the interconnectedness between soil quality, climate change and agriculture is viewed through a narrow lens. It is widely accepted that healthy soil is required to grow bountiful crops and that the quality of soil and crops is negatively affected by (climate change induced) droughts, floods and storms. This unidirectional understanding disregards a major element of the dynamic— the impact of healthy soil on climate change through the removal (or sequestering) of carbon dioxide or CO2 from the atmosphere.

Because soil sequesters more carbon than the atmosphere and vegetation combined, and can hold onto it longer, enhancing soil carbon levels provides a major opportunity to reverse current global trends of atmospheric accumulation of CO2.



According to the FAO, the practice of conventional agriculture has substantially depleted soil carbon stocks, through deforestation and poor land management practices. Regenerative agricultural practices like permaculture and agroforestry seek to restore degraded lands and improve soil conditions, thus enhancing the soil’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide:

Regenerative practices include organic farming (with composting and crop rotation), managed grazing (systematic rotation of grazing animals), silvopasture (integrating trees, forage, and the grazing of domesticated animals), planting of perennial crops (crops developed to reduce inputs) and agroforestry (agriculture incorporating trees). According to Terra Genesis International, these practices and principles have the cumulative potential to remove significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere each year.

A major objective of regenerative agriculture is to convert economically viable and oftentimes degraded land into a socially and environmentally responsible resource. 

There is great potential in the Caribbean for the restoration of degraded lands and enhancement of the extensive types of soils encountered here. Regenerative agriculture can profitably bring the region to carbon neutral status while improving food security and reducing the negative impacts on water supply (healthy soils require less water to produce the same amount of food).

Ewing-Chow highlights some regenerative agriculture best practices in the Caribbean, including Walkers Reserve in Barbados and Durga’s Den in Jamaica. Find out more in the full article, The Caribbean Has A ‘Dirty’ Solution For Climate Change.

[Image: CIAT]

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Bridge damaged by flooding, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Image: CIF Action
Climate Change
OECS/GIZ photo contest: human mobility in the context of climate change

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) have launched a photo competition on Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change. The contest seeks to inspire the creation and dissemination of images that explore the impact of climate change on the lives of Caribbean …

Dasheen farmer, Dominica. Image: scottmontreal
Agriculture
World Bank continues to support post-hurricane livelihoods recovery for Dominica’s farmers

The World Bank continues to support action to restore livelihoods in Dominica’s agricultural sector, post Hurricane-Maria. Via Dominica News Online: The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved US$16.4 million in additional financing for Dominica to support ongoing projects in the areas of agriculture and infrastructure for climate resilience and economic recovery …

Greenhouse. Image: Jennifer C.
Agriculture
Climate-resilient greenhouse agriculture in the Caribbean

Writing for Forbes, Daphne Ewing-Chow profiles Alquimi Renewables LLC, a company working to address the Caribbean’s food insecurity through climate-resilient protected agriculture: Alquimi’s mission is for Caribbean farms to expand considerably in scale and diversity to the point at which they can augment local farming of indigenous crops and eventually …