Vegetation and soils store large amounts of carbon, but deforestation, agriculture and other types of human land uses create carbon emissions from the land that push global warming further ahead exacerbate global warming. Around 30 percent of global soil carbon has already been lost during the last centuries. Most recent land use change occurred in the tropics, which is particularly alarming because land cleared in the tropics emits up to three times the amount of carbon per ton of crop production compared to land use change in temperate regions. At the same time, carbon sinks in forests and other intact ecosystems sequester around one third of global carbon emissions and thus provide an important contribution to climate protection.
Various large-scale strategies have been proposed that seek to utilise and further enhance carbon uptake in land ecosystems as part of wider climate mitigation strategies such as climate-smart agriculture to enhance soil carbon sequestration, biochar soil amendment, forest protection and afforestation, bioenergy production or combating soil degradation.
The successful implementation of any of these strategies requires detailed understanding of local and regional environmental, social and economic characteristics, because positive and negative impacts, potentials and limitations are context-specific and generic statements about single best strategies are misleading.
Furthermore, climate mitigation is but one element of sustainable development pathways. Large-scale land use strategies can increase competition for land resources and conflict with other goals from the 2030 Agenda.
In this forum we will discuss potential synergies and conflicts in land-based climate mitigation strategies in the context of the broader 2030 Agenda.