The agricultural sector faces significant challenges in reducing GHG emissions in line with EU targets and maintaining food security. This dual objective must be managed in an integrated way to avoid trade-offs and optimise the sector’s contribution to GHG mitigation and C sequestration. Integrated land management is a coherent approach that incentivises increased food production in areas where this can be done sustainably and incentivises carbon sinks where this represents the optimum land use. It involves a “two-pronged approach” of reducing GHG emissions and maximising C storage in agricultural land. The work will centre on two main themes: optimisation of AFOLU (agriculture, forestry and other land use) carbon sinks and alternative reporting of agricultural GHG emissions. The specific objectives are to:
- assess management and land use approaches to maximise the C sink potential of agricultural land, protect existing C sinks and minimise C losses from land
- appraise potential mechanisms and metrics to account for the impacts of integrated land management
- compile and analyse data on the status quo and possible alternatives for reporting of Irish GHG emissions
Additional financial support for this project has been provided by Dairy Research Ireland which is a trust set up to administer the dairy research levy collected from dairy farmers in Ireland.