Restoring degraded lands is one promising option and is being led by International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). For example, the 4 parts per 1000 initiative (“4p1000”) aims to increase the carbon stored in the world’s soils by 0.4% per year in order to sequester the human-caused CO2 emissions that are not already absorbed by the land or oceans. Recent analysis shows that 25-50% of this target (equivalent to 0.9-1.85bn tonnes of carbon per year) could be achieved on the 16 million square kilometres of suitable farmland across the world. This would sequester about 6-13% of all CO2 emissions from human activity.
Our research has identified several relatively simple, low-cost options for restoring African landscapes to help cut emissions from soils and even turn them into carbon sinks.
Achieving zero emissions from land use is within reach. We have the methods that can help restore degraded lands and keep lands from being degraded. In doing so, we can simultaneously contribute to global food security and reduce atmospheric carbon emissions.