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Carbon sequestration potential of parkland agroforestry in the Sahel


  • Eike Luedeling


  • Henry Neufeldt


Establishing parkland agroforestry on currently treeless cropland in the West African Sahel may help mitigate climate change. To evaluate its potential, we used climatically suitable ranges for parklands for 19 climate scenarios, derived by ecological niche modeling, for estimating potential carbon stocks in parkland and treeless cropland. A biocarbon business model was used to evaluate profitability of hypothetical Terrestrial Carbon Projects (TCPs), across a range of farm sizes, farm numbers, carbon prices and benefit sharing mechanisms. Using climate analogues, we explored potential climate change trajectories for selected locations. If mature parklands covered their maximum range, carbon stocks in Sahelian productive land would be about 1,284 Tg, compared to 725 Tg in a treeless scenario. Due to slow increase rates of total system carbon by 0.4 Mg C ha −1 a −1 , most TCPs at carbon prices that seem realistic today were not feasible, or required the participation of large numbers of farmers. For small farms, few TCP scenarios were feasible, and low Net Present Values for farmers made it unlikely that carbon payments would motivate many to participate in TCPs, unless additional benefits were provided. Climate analogue locations indicated an uncertain climate trajectory for the Sahel, but most scenarios projected increasing aridity and reduced suitability for parklands. The potentially severe impacts of climate change on Sahelian ecosystems and the uncertain profitability of TCPs make the Sahel highly risky for carbon investments. Given the likelihood of degrading environmental conditions, the search for appropriate adaptation strategies should take precedence over promoting mitigation activities. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Eike Luedeling & Henry Neufeldt, 2012. "Carbon sequestration potential of parkland agroforestry in the Sahel," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 115(3), pages 443-461, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:115:y:2012:i:3:p:443-461
    DOI: 10.1007/s10584-012-0438-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wunder, Sven, 2008. "Payments for environmental services and the poor: concepts and preliminary evidence," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(03), pages 279-297, June.
    2. Reij, Chris & Tappan, Gary & Smale, Melinda, 2009. "Agroenvironmental transformation in the Sahel: Another kind of “Green Revolution"," IFPRI discussion papers 914, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Wendland, Kelly J. & Honzák, Miroslav & Portela, Rosimeiry & Vitale, Benjamin & Rubinoff, Samuel & Randrianarisoa, Jeannicq, 2010. "Targeting and implementing payments for ecosystem services: Opportunities for bundling biodiversity conservation with carbon and water services in Madagascar," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 2093-2107, September.
    4. Torres, Arturo Balderas & Marchant, Rob & Lovett, Jon C. & Smart, James C.R. & Tipper, Richard, 2010. "Analysis of the carbon sequestration costs of afforestation and reforestation agroforestry practices and the use of cost curves to evaluate their potential for implementation of climate change mitigat," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 469-477, January.
    5. Lumley, Sarah, 1997. "The environment and the ethics of discounting: An empirical analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 71-82, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nyairo, Risper & Onwonga, Richard & Cherogony, Kipruto & Luedeling, Eike, 2014. "Applicability of Climate Analogues for Climate Change Adaptation Planning in Bugabira Commune of Burundi," Sustainable Agriculture Research, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 3(4).

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