Carbon sequestration potential of agroforestry systems in Canada
Honours Bachelor of Science in Forestry
DisciplineNatural Resources Management
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Agroforestry is a land management system which integrates forest management practices with agriculture, often using high-value tree species planted alongside crops to increase profits. Agroforestry has the potential to increase carbon sequestration from the atmosphere within an area by increasing or maintaining land productivity through preventing soil erosion and binding carbon within the soils. As carbon dioxide is the most abundant greenhouse gas, sequestering carbon dioxide by any means will help to mitigate the degree of climate change. In this study, I compared the potential carbon sequestration capacity of shelterbelt agroforestry systems and silvopastoral agroforestry systems applicable to ecosystems within Canada against that of their adjacent pure agricultural systems. The results of this study indicated that silvopastoral systems sequester significantly more carbon dioxide within their soils than their adjacent agricultural counterparts while shelterbelt systems do not. Potential aboveground biomass productivity was also compared for hardwood and softwood tree species. The results indicated that there was no statistically significant difference between the two in aboveground biomass production potential. Based off these results, recommendations for resources and policies were made specific to Canada. The recommendations included developing a strategic framework for agroforestry in Canada, increasing the availability of grants for agroforestry in Canada, and changing property tax schemes to make agroforestry more financially appealing to land managers over single-use systems.