Prioritizing land-management options for carbon sequestration potential
Global warming is inevitable. Therefore, the need is to develop strategies to reduce the greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Carbon sequestration through biomass seems to be a cheap and viable option. There are several land-use options which can sequester carbon. Their potential of locking carbon differs not only with the type of species, but also with the agroclimatic zones. Hence, location-specific land-use systems need to be prioritized taking both carbon sequestration potential and socio-economic needs into account. It was found that in the terai zone of West Bengal, fallow land and agricultural field sequester 5.86% and 4.73% carbon respectively, compared to the natural forest of Shorea robusta. However, agroforestry systems, viz. tea garden and agrihorticulture contributed 24.24% and 9.09% carbon respectively. The agrihorticulture system while sequestering carbon also provides agricultural crops and other economic gains, including carbon credits, and hence seems to be the best option. The potential of carbon storage of tree + crop-based system can be further increased using improved planting materials of perennial components.