Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation
Agriculture is not only a fundamental human activity put at risk by climate change. It is also a major driver of environmental and climate change itself, as it has the largest human impact on land and water resources. About 1.6 billion hectares of arable land (around 12.5% of total ice-free land) are used for crop cultivation, and an additional 2.5 billion hectares are used for pasture.
The sector is also a major user of water. By 2010, over 300 million hectares of arable land was under irrigation, representing roughly 70% of fresh water resources withdrawn from aquifers, lakes and rivers by human activity.
Agriculture is responsible for 25% of carbon dioxide, 50% of methane, and more than 75% of nitrous oxide emissions annually produced by human activities. Nevertheless, agriculture is one of the few sectors that can both contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and to the mitigation and sequestration of carbon emissions, through sustainable production practices.
SAN’s sustainable agriculture approach focuses on building resilient agroecosystems and reducing the negative impact of agricultural activities on the environment by:
- Promoting agriculture practices that restore and increase natural and artificial carbon sinks.
- Offering solutions to minimize and compensate GHG emissions by implementing a responsible management of fertilizers and pesticides, reducing the use of fossil fuels and their by-products, and incorporating renewable energies into production systems.
- Promoting the diversification of agroecosystems to improve their adaptability to changing climate patterns.
- Encouraging soil management practices that contribute to productivity while lowering the pressure of agricultural activities over soil resources.
- Improving water efficiency through better management practices that reduce vulnerability to variable conditions.
- Promoting the use of weather monitoring systems and trends analysis to reduce the risks associated to climate variability.
- Assessing livestock management practices to enable adaptation and a reduction of the systems' vulnerability to climate variability.