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The Potential of Organic Agriculture to Mitigate the Influence of Agriculture on Global Warming - A Review


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Müller, Adrian and Aubert, Claude (2013) The Potential of Organic Agriculture to Mitigate the Influence of Agriculture on Global Warming - A Review. In: Bellon, S. and Penvern, S. (Eds.) Organic Farming, Prototype for Sustainable Agricultures. Springer Science+Business Media, Dordrecht, chapter 13, pp. 239-259.

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The biggest mitigation potential of agriculture lies in soil carbon sequestration. The most promising practices for this, such as the use of legume leys and organic fertilisers, are common to organic agriculture, thus suggesting considerable mitigation potential for this farming system. However, mitigation in agriculture needs to be assessed beyond the level of single farming practices. This is best illustrated with the issues of fertility management and animal husbandry. Optimisation of fertility management necessitates optimisation of the soil-fertiliser system as a whole and, thus, the assessment of the links between crop rotations, fertiliser types, tillage and soil carbon sequestration. Optimisation of animal husbandry requires a global view, accounting for life-cycle emissions of feed production. Feeding roughage leads to lower life-cycle emissions. Most effective, however, is a drastic reduction of the number of animals, which necessitates consideration of aspects beyond agriculture. Wider societal changes such as dietary changes to reduce meat consumption or behavioural changes to reduce wastage are necessary. Organic agriculture is well positioned to mitigate climate change in such a systemic context. However, addressing mitigation in agriculture leads to some change of thought in conventional agriculture. By acknowledging the essential role of soil carbon sequestration, for example, systemic ideas have gained increasing importance in conventional agriculture. This development should be used to move towards a global approach to sustainable systemic and multifunctional agriculture.

EPrint Type:Book chapter
Keywords:Carbon dioxide, Carbon sequestration, Climate change, Global warming, Greenhouse gas, Methane, Mitigation, Nitrous oxide, Organic agriculture, Socio-economics, Policy, Sustainability, Klimawandel
Agrovoc keywords:
Englishcarbon dioxidehttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_1302
Englishcarbon sequestrationhttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_331583
EnglishClimate changeUNSPECIFIED
EnglishGlobal warminghttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_34836
EnglishGreenhouse gaseshttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_34841
EnglishNitrous oxidehttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_12838
EnglishOrganic agriculturehttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_15911
Subjects: Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Climate Change
France > Other organizations
DOI:DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-7927-3_13
Deposited By: Muller, Adrian
ID Code:25698
Deposited On:25 Jun 2014 19:33
Last Modified:18 Aug 2014 15:26
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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