Land and forests are intimately connected to how people live, particularly in remote and rural areas. The Congo Basin forest, for example, is home to 24 million people. Most of them rely on forests for their livelihoods.
Agriculture, forestry and other land uses — known as AFOLU — is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, but it can also be part of the solution. Converting forests into agricultural land emits huge amounts of greenhouse gases. Using sustainable forest and land management practices can instead help those ecosystems retain and store a significant amount of carbon. Read more+
AFOLU accounted for 24 percent of the total anthropic emissions in 2010, including 11 percent from forestry and other land uses (IPCC, 2015). Through more sustainable use of lands and forests, along with adoption of climate-smart agriculture techniques, the planet can balance the needs of people with the environment.
Land: Keeping carbon in the land (sequestration) can mitigate climate change through “avoided” emissions. Techniques include converting non-forest land to forests; planting trees or allow forests to regenerate naturally; restoring peatlands; and converting crop land to permanent pasture.
Forests: Mixing trees with crops (agroforestry) or with forage and livestock (silvopasture) can also be effective ways to sequester carbon. What’s more, these tactics are compatible with sustainable forest management (SFM) as well as climate-smart agriculture (use of perennials, low till or no-till practices, good fertilizer and feed management, and soil fertility techniques).
What We Do
The GEF supports a broad range of activities in the AFOLU sector. These include increasing afforestation and reforestation; defining conservation areas to secure carbon sinks; securing and establishing positive incentives for sustainable management of forests; and building systems to monitor, verify and report on carbon stocks. Some projects are focused regionally or globally and involve more than one country. Many complement our work on biodiversity, climate change adaptation, and/or land degradation. Read more+
Our projects cover the spectrum of land-use categories, as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These include reducing deforestation and forest degradation, enhancing carbon stocks in non-forest lands, and management of peatlands.
Governance: GEF projects support good management practices with local communities. They strengthen networks of stakeholders and build capacity of national and local institutions.
AFOLU management practices: We fund projects that strengthen management of carbon sinks, diversify livelihoods and build capacity for improved forest management. For example, we support protection of carbon reservoirs in peatlands, and the technology needed to restore such sinks, as well as reforestation.
Climate-smart agriculture: We fund a wide range of mitigation activities in the agricultural sector. These range from improved soil management and fertilizer methods to maintaining soil fertility and better livestock management. We also help control slash and burn shifting agriculture and open burning practices. Ultimately, we aim for the triple win of promoting food security, mitigating climate change and strengthening resilience of agricultural systems.
Financial mechanisms: We help finance incentives to improve mitigation practices in forest, agriculture and land management or develop new ones. This can include insurance and risk guarantees, green subsidies for agriculture and training for farmers.
Monitoring, verification and reporting (MRV): The GEF supports a variety of tools to improve measurement of changes to carbon stocks, including mapping systems with high resolution satellite imagery and field work. Our efforts complement the United Nations collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) that builds national inventories and other strategies.
Pilot projects: Where appropriate, we fund pilot projects to reduce net emissions from AFOLU and to enhance carbon stocks. We look for synergy with our work on sustainable forest management, biodiversity, and land degradation.
AFOLU projects supported by the GEF have resulted in at least 250 million tonnes of CO2eq emissions avoided. Apart from mitigation, projects may also support climate change adaptation. Adoption of sustainable land practices, for example, could help a community strengthen food, water and fuelwood security. Read more+
The GEF in Action: Carbon Benefits Project
In 2008, the GEF helped develop a standardized system for measuring, monitoring and modeling carbon stock changes and GHG emissions from forest and agro-ecosystems. The web-based system applies to all projects focusing on natural resource management, including forestry, agroforestry, agriculture, and pasture management in all climate zones, soils types, and land uses. It is easy to use and inexpensive, providing decision makers with a powerful tool to improve the prospects for both mitigation and adaptation to climate change.