RANKING AND RESULTS BY 2050 #9
31.19 GIGATONS REDUCED CO2
$41.6 BILLION NET COST
$699.4 BILLION NET SAVINGS

Cows and trees do not belong together—so says conventional wisdom. And why should it not be? In Brazil and elsewhere, headlines condemn ranching as a driver of mass deforestation and attendant climate change. But the practice of silvopasture challenges this assumption of mutual exclusivity and could help shape a new era for the acreage dedicated to live stock and their food.

From the Latin for “forest” and “grazing,” silvopasture is just that: the integration of trees and pasture or forage into a single system for raising livestock, from cattle and sheep to deer and ducks. Rather than seeing trees as a weed to be removed, silvopasture integrates them into a sustainable and symbiotic system. It is one approach within the broader umbrella of agroforestry and revives an ancient practice, now common on 1.1 billion acres worldwide. The dehesa system of silvopasture, famous for the jamón ibérico it yields, has been cultivated on the Iberian Peninsula for more than forty-five hundred years. More recently, silvopasture has taken root in Central America, thanks to the work of champions such as the Center for Research in Sustainable Systems of Agriculture (CIPAV), based in Cali, Colombia. In many places in the United States and Canada, livestock and trees can be found intermingling.

IMPACT: We estimate that silvopasture is currently practiced on 351 million acres of land globally. If adoption expands to 554 million acres by 2050—out of the 2.7 billion acres theoretically suitable for silvopasture—carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by 31.2 gigatons. This reduction is a result of the high annual carbon sequestration rate of 1.95 tons of carbon per acre per year in soil and biomass. Farmers could realize financial gains from revenue diversification of $699 billion, on investment of $42 billon to implement.

– Pages 50 – 51, Section (excerpt only) from book DRAWDOWN – THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE PLAN EVER PROPOSED TO REVERSE GLOBAL WARMING | EDITED BY PAUL HAWKEN

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