Role of Conservation Agriculture in Climate Change Mitigation
Nasir Ali1, ImdadUllah1, Dr. Rashid Fayyaz2
1 Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture Faisalabad.
2 Department of Parasitology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad.
Climate changes with every moment therefore it is very difficult to study it as well as to give an accurate prediction about what’ll happen or what kind of changes will occur in future. There are a lot of factors which are responsible for these large fluctuations in the climate of an area where the development of economic and social status of a man is running beyond the natural resources limits. So there is a biggest challenge to produce the food, clothes to wear and shelter to live, without disturbing the sustainability and ecology of the environment and also preserving all the natural and artificial resources for the future generations in a good condition.
Changes in climate like uneven rainfall and sudden fluctuation in temperature are the key factors which reduce the production in agriculture sector and has created a big threat for food security and caused huge economic losses to the growers. Agriculture contributes 10% to the overall greenhouse gas emission and considered as 4th largest greenhouse gas emitter after energy, transportation and industry. Many things are produced by the agriculture sector, without those, life cannot exist on this earth like food for human, feed for animals, fiber for cloth and many other important things. Like all the other activities, agriculture also interacts with the environment naturally as well as socially. If we talk about all the sectors, agriculture is the sector which is largely dependent on the climatic conditions and changes in them. Crop growth and development is highly dependent upon the amount of carbon dioxide present in the environment, as the temperature and rainfall pattern changes the amount of carbon dioxide also fluctuates which results in affecting crop growth and ultimately lowers their yield. Overall the world climate change is responsible to alter crop yields 32%-39%, that effect can be more in developed countries.
Now days, it is necessary to adopt several strategies under sustainable environment by which the effect of climate change can be minimized but not at the cost of low food production, no over use of natural resources, without disturbing social and economic life of a society. Many studies carried out in different countries of the world suggest that minimum tillage of soil at the time of seedbed preparation sequester more amount of carbon in the soil. From the air CO2 is taken up by the plants and through the process of photosynthesis is converted in to its organic form (Wood or any other plant part). After the senescence of plant part this organic carbon becomes the part of organic matter in the soil which results in improving the fertility of soil and also increases the production of crops. While proper managed farm operations like tillage should be done according to the requirement of soil and crop, balanced use of inputs (fertilizers, pesticides) decreases the greenhouse gases emission from agriculture sector. That’s why to maintain and keep balance in the sustainability of the environment conservation agriculture has the most importance
Environment is improved by practicing conservation agriculture to a large extent without decreasing the production of crops. According to an estimate in developed countries more than 25% loss of soil exceeds 12 tons’ ha-1 year-1, taking that there are more losses of soil than the rate of soil formation. Conservation agriculture helps to increase the rate of soil formation by reducing the soil erosion losses 90% in contrast with traditional methods of cultivation.
In comparison to conservation agriculture, traditional tillage practices add more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by increasing the greenhouse gases emission, decomposition rate of the soil organic matter increases which reduce the storage of organic matter in soil for long time which ultimately results in poor soil fertility as well as low productivity. By practicing the conservation agriculture physico-chemical properties of the soil are improved which result in good tilth of soil, more organic matter, more sequestration of carbon, good rate of infiltration of water, better water holding capacity, less water erosion, less evaputranspirational losses and maintaining a balance of soil micro fauna and flora. In conservation agriculture we can produce more by less use of water so it increases the water use efficiency.
According to a report of Food and Agricultural Organization conservation agriculture is one of the most explored sector of agricultural sciences and 160mha are operated by using conservation agriculture practices. There are certain principles of conservation agriculture; no-till, growing of cover crops as a mulch and appropriate crop rotation. In horticultural crops there should be cultivation of crops which are spreading in nature and provide a good ground cover. In field crops there should be retention of previous crop stubbles so they work as organic mulch. There are many other benefits of conservation agriculture which helps to mitigate the climate change.