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Branca G.,University of Tuscia | Hissa H.,Embrapa Solos e Superintendencia de Desenvolvimento Sustentavel | Benez M.C.,Empresa de Pesquisa Agropecuaria e Extensao Rural EPAGRI | Medeiros K.,Investment Center Division | And 4 more authors.
Land Use Policy | Year: 2013

This paper presents the results of the EX-Ante Carbon-balance Tool (EX-ACT) application on two rural development projects in Brazil. The analysis provides an estimate of project impact on GHG emissions and C sequestration indicating net mitigation potential: results show that the Santa Catarina Rural Competitiveness Project has the potential to mitigate 12.2Mt CO 2e and the Rio de Janeiro Sustainable Rural Development Project 0.85Mt CO 2e. Both projects are successful at promoting activities aimed at reducing rural poverty and also contribute to climate change mitigation, demonstrating the potential importance of sustainable agriculture (improved cropland and grassland management, expansion of agro-forestry systems and protection of forested areas) in delivering environmental services. EX-ACT has also been used as a tool to guide project developers in refining components and activities to increase project environmental benefits. Cost-benefit analysis shows that while both projects generate environmental benefits associated with climate change mitigation, the Santa Catarina Rural Competitiveness Project has significantly higher potential due to the size of the project area and the nature of activities, thus a higher likelihood of potential co-financing from climate finance sources. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Branca G.,University of Tuscia | Lipper L.,Food and Agriculture Organization of the un FAO | McCarthy N.,Lead Analytics Inc | Jolejole M.C.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign
Agronomy for Sustainable Development | Year: 2013

Agriculture production in developing countries must be increased to meet food demand for a growing population. Earlier literature suggests that sustainable land management could increase food production without degrading soil and water resources. Improved agronomic practices include organic fertilization, minimum soil disturbance, and incorporation of residues, terraces, water harvesting and conservation, and agroforestry. These practices can also deliver co-benefits in the form of reduced greenhouse gas emissions and enhanced carbon storage in soils and biomass. Here, we review 160 studies reporting original field data on the yield effects of sustainable land management practices sequestering soil carbon. The major points are: (1) sustainable land management generally leads to increased yields, although the magnitude and variability of results varies by specific practice and agro-climatic conditions. For instance, yield effects are in some cases negative for improved fallows, terraces, minimum tillage, and live fences. Whereas, positive yield effects are observed consistently for cover crops, organic fertilizer, mulching, and water harvesting. Yields are also generally higher in areas of low and variable rainfall. (2) Isolating the yield effects of individual practices is complicated by the adoption of combinations or "packages" of sustainable land management options. (3) Sustainable land management generally increases soil carbon sequestration. Agroforestry increases aboveground C sequestration and organic fertilization reduces CO 2 emissions. (4) Rainfall distribution is a key determinant of the mitigation effects of adopting specific sustainable land management practices. Mitigation effects of adopting sustainable land management are higher in higher rainfall areas, with the exception of water management. © 2013 INRA and Springer-Verlag France.

Bernoux M.,Montpellier SupAgro | Branca G.,Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN FAO | Carro A.,Investment Center Division | Lipper L.,Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN FAO | And 2 more authors.
Scientia Agricola | Year: 2010

EX-ACT (EX-Ante Carbon-balance Tool) is a tool developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It provides ex-ante measurements of the mitigation impact of agriculture and forestry development projects, estimating net C balance from GHG emissions and Carbon (C) sequestration. EX-ACT is a land-based accounting system, measuring C stocks, stock changes per unit of land, and CH 4 and N 2O emissions expressed in t CO 2-eq per hectare and year. The main output of the tool is an estimation of the C-balance associated with the adoption of improved land management options, as compared with a "business as usual" scenario. EX-ACT has been developed using primarily the IPCC 2006 Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, complemented by other existing methodologies and reviews of default coefficients. Default values for mitigation options in the agriculture sector are mostly from the 4 th Assessment Report of IPCC (2007). Thus, EX-ACT allows for the carbon-balance appraisal of new investment programmes by ensuring an appropriate method available for donors and planning officers, project designers, and decision makers within agriculture and forestry sectors in developing countries. The tool can also help to identify the mitigation impacts of various investment project options, and thus provide an additional criterion for consideration in project selection.

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