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Agroforestry as a Key Intervention to Achieve Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Targets

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Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) have emerged as the main tool for defining, communicating, and potentially reporting contributions of “parties” to the Paris Agreement on climate change. Agroforestry has been identified as a key part of most developing country NDCs; hence, it is a potentially important contributor to global climate objectives. This chapter explores the degree to which agroforestry is represented in current NDC ambitions, how its application is envisaged, and how its contribution could be enhanced. Agroforestry is one of the land uses with immense potential to fulfill commitments set out in NDCs and reduce emissions from agriculture; estimates of its potential to sequester vary widely, between 1.1 and 34.2 Pg C globally. Over 85% of the 22 NDCs assessed mentioned agroforestry as a strategy for achieving unconditional NDC commitments. By converting 25% of deforested areas to agroforestry, about 80% of the non-Annex I countries could achieve their unconditional commitments. The widespread use of agroforestry (about one billion hectares) and its familiarity among smallholder farmers and local practitioners makes it a potential low-hanging fruit for achieving NDC commitments, emission reduction in agriculture, and resilience. However, there are financial, policy, and technology challenges that should be addressed, including land and tree tenure and carbon rights in some countries, the potential impacts of climate change on the growing niches of tree species, and limited sources of quality germplasm.

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