Quantification data unveils opportunities for low-emissions agricultural development

Reliable data on greenhouse gas emissions from smallholder farms allow decision-makers to craft farmer-friendly policies that mitigate climate change. This photo is taken at a SAMPLES quantification workshop in Kenya. Photo: K Foster (ICRAF)
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The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is partnering with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to improve knowledge and enable smallholder farmers' opportunities for mitigation in dozens of countries.

CCAFS, FAO and partners aim to make scientifically rigorous and coherent methodologies for estimating greenhouse gas emissions from land use available and affordable in all countries. To date, the organizations have hosted six workshops in which scientific and policy leaders:

• Synthesized the state of knowledge about quantification of GHGs in agriculture and developed a road map for its improvement.
• Identified incentives for economically viable and sustainable practices to mitigate climate change while also contributing to food security
• Examined emerging policy for national appropriate mitigation options (NAMAs) and produced a review and guidelines for national policy makers.

Please see publications and presentations from each workshop below.

Reducing the costs of GHG estimates in agriculture to inform low emissions development

10-12 November 2014

Workshop agenda and presentations

Workshop Report

Challenges for agricultural greenhouse gas quantification

Emissions data guidelines of UNFCCC and climate finance mechanisms

Innovations that decrease the costs of collecting biophysical and activity data

Available emission factor data and low-cost methods for ghg data estimation

Methods for low-cost field measurement

Tool bazaar

Workshop on NAMAs: national mitigation planning and implementation in agriculture

16 - 17 July 2012


Wilkes A, Tennigkeit T, Solymosi K. 2013. National integrated mitigation planning in agriculture: a review paper. Mitigation of Climate Change in Agriculture Series 7. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

This review provides national policy makers and others in the agriculture sector with an overview of national mitigation planning processes and aids in identifying relevant processes for promoting agricultural development. It also provides policy makers and low-emissions development planners with an overview of mitigation planning in the agriculture sector and highlights the relevance of agriculture to national mitigation plans and actions.

Wilkes A, Tennigkeit T, Solymosi K. 2013. National integrated mitigation planning in agriculture: a guidance document. Mitigation of Climate Change in Agriculture Series 7. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).  Also available in Spanish.

This document provides national policy makers, advisors and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector with an introduction to the main climate change mitigation planning approaches and the key elements to be considered in the planning process for agricultural systems.

Workshop report and presentations
• CCAFS FAO Workshop report on NAMAs 
• Barioni LG. Mitigation options and actions in Brazil agriculture
• Benitez P. CSA planning by the World Bank
• Dewi S. Local action plans for land-based NAMAs in Indonesia
• Forner C. NAMAs Overview
• Magambo E. Developing NAMAs for Kenya in agriculture
• Makhoka M. NAMA priorities in Kenya
• Masiga M. Economic and social evaluation of national GHG mitigation
• Medina D. Zamora agricultural NAMA in Costa Rica
• Setyanto P. Indonesia emisision reduction in agriculture
• Tapasco J. Economic analysis of mitigation alternatives

• Tubiello F. Estimating GHG emissions within FAOSTAT

Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Quantification Technical Workshop
Co-sponsor: Duke University Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy solutions

18 - 20 April 2012

35 scientists and policymakers advanced synthesis and new approaches for the quantification of agricultural greenhouse gases in smallholder agriculture. CCAFS, Duke and FAO commissioned articles for a special issue of Environmental Research Letters (ERL): Focus on Improving Quantification of Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.


• Olander L, Wollenberg E, Tubiello F, Herold M. 2014. Synthesis and Review: Advancing agricultural greenhouse gas quantification

• Olander L, Wollenberg E, Tubiello F, Herold M. 2013. Perspecives: Advancing agricultural greenhouse gas quantification

• Berry NJ, Ryan CM. Overcoming the risk of inaction from emissions uncertainty in smallholder agriculture
• Paustian K. Bridging the data gap: engaging developing country farmers in greenhouse gas accounting
• Rosenstock T. Rufino MS, Butterbach-Bahl K, Wollenberg E. Toward a protocol for quantifying the greenhouse gas balance and identifying mitigation options in smallholder farming systems
• Tubiello F, Salvatore M, Rossi S, Ferrara A, Fitton N, Smith P. The FAOSTAT database of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture
• Ogle S, Buendia L, Butterbach-Bahl K, Breidt FJ, Hartman M, Yagi K, Nayamuth K, Spencer S, Wirth T, Smith P. Advancing national greenhouse gas inventories for agriculture in developing countries: improving activity data, emission factors and software technology
• Lloyd CR, Rebelo LM, Finlayson CM. Providing low-budget estimations of carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural wetlands
• Vågen TG, Winowiecki L. Mapping of soil organic carbon stocks for spatially explicit assessments of climate change mitigation potential
• Colomb V, Touchemoulin O, Bockel L, Chotte JL, Martin S, Tinlot M, Bernoux M. Selection of appropriate calculators for landscape-scale greenhouse gas assessment for agriculture and forestry
• Reisinger A, Ledgard S. Impact of greenhouse gas metrics on the quantification of agricultural emissions and farm-scale mitigation strategies: a New Zealand case study
• Modernel P, Astigarraga L, Picasso V. Global versus local environmental impacts of grazing and confined beef production systems
• Lobell DB, Baldos ULC, Hertel TW. Climate adaptation as mitigation: the case of agricultural investments
• Hussein Z, Hertel T, Golub A. Climate change mitigation policies and poverty in developing countries
• Valin H, Havlík P, Mosnier A, Herrero M, Schmid E, Obersteiner M. Agricultural productivity and greenhouse gas emissions: trade-offs or synergies between mitigation and food security?
• Signor D, Cerri CEP, Conant R. N2O emissions due to nitrogen fertilizer applications in two regions of sugarcane cultivation in Brazil
• Silva-Olaya AM, Cerri CEP, La Scala Jr N, Dias CTS, Cerri CC. Carbon dioxide emissions under different soil tillage systems in mechanically harvested sugarcane
• Hensen A, Skiba U, Famulari D. Low cost and state of the art methods to measure nitrous oxide emissions
• VanderZaag AC, MacDonald JC, Evans L, Vergé XPC, Desjardins RL. Towards an inventory of methane emissions from manure management that is responsive to changes on Canadian farms
• Burzaco JP, Smith DR, Vyn TJ. Nitrous oxide emissions in Midwest US maize production vary widely with band-injected N fertilizer rates, timing and nitrapyrin presence

Smallholder Mitigation: Whole Farm and Landscape Accounting

27 - 28 October 2011


• Milne E, Neufeldt H, Rosenstock T, Smalligan M, Cerri CE, Malin D, Easter M, Bernoux M, Ogle S, Casarim F, Pearson T, Bird DN, Steglich E, Ostwald M, Denef K, Paustian K. 2013. Methods for the quantification of GHG emissions at the landscape level for developing countries in smallholder contexts. Environmental Research Letters 8:015019.

• Milne E, Neufeldt H, Smalligan M, Rosenstock T, Bernoux M, Bird N, Casarim F, Denef K, Easter M, Malin D, Ogle S, Ostwald M, Paustian K, Pearson T, Steglich E. 2012. Methods for the quantification of emissions at the landscape level for developing countries in smallholder contexts. CCAFS Report No. 9. Copenhagen, Denmark: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

• Seebauer M. 2014. Whole farm quantification of GHG emissions within smallholder farms in developing countries. Environmental Research Letters. 9:035006.

Workshop report and presentations
• CCAFS FAO Workshop Agenda: Whole Farm and Landscape Accounting 
• Output: Accounting Methods Matrix
• Bernoux M. ExAct and landscape accounting
• Berry N. Whole farm carbon accounting and Plan Vivo
• Ching C. Verified Carbon Standard smallholder projects
• Fay J. Community markets for conservation
• Ingersoll C. Cool Farm Tool
• McConkey B. Enhancing cooperation: the GRA
• Olesen J. Farm scale modeling
• Seebauer M. Whole farm accounting in Kenya
• Siyag P. UNFCCC accounting approach in A/R CDM
• Souza L. Avoided deforestation on smallholder farms in Brazil
• Swan A. Carbon benefits project at landscape scale

Smallholder Mitigation: Mitigation Options and Incentive Mechanisms - Expert Workshop

7 - 8 July 2011

• Branca G, McCarthy N, Lipper L, Jolejole MC. 2011. Climate-smart agriculture: a synthesis of empirical evidence of food security and mitigation benefits from improved cropland management. Mitigation of Climate Change in Agriculture Series 3. FAO, Rome, Italy. 

• Havemann T, Muccione V. 2011. Mechanisms for agricultural climate change mitigation incentives for smallholders. CCAFS Report No. 6. CCAFS, Copenhagen, Denmark. 

• McCarthy N, Lipper L, Branca, G. 2011. Climate Smart Agriculture: Smallholder adoption and implications for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Mitigation of Climate Change in Agriculture Working Paper No 3. FAO, Rome, Italy. 

• Streck C, Burns D, Guimaraes L. 2012. Towards policies for climate change mitigation: Incentives and benefits for smallholder farmers. CCAFS Report No. 7. CCAFS, Copenhagen, Denmark.

• Wollenberg E, Higman S, Seeberg-Elverfeldt C, Neely C, Tapio-Biström ML and Neufeldt H. 2012. Helping smallholder farmers mitigate climate change. CCAFS Policy Brief no. 5. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Copenhagen, Denmark.

Workshop report and presentations
• CCAFS FAO Workshop Agenda: Smallholder mitigation and incentives
• Antle A. Trade off analysis minimum data
• Bianca G. Empirical evidence of food security and mitigation benefits 
• Havemann T. Financing options for smallholders and mitigation 
• Lipper L. Constraints to adoption of SALM and implications 
• De Pinto A. Cost benefit analyses for mitigation
• Streck C. Creating incentives and benefits

Towards a Framework for Smallholder Agricultural Mitigation: Terrestrial Carbon and other GHG Measurement and Simulation Models - Technical Workshop

13 July 2010

Workshop report and presentations

• CCAFS FAO Workshop Report GHG Measurement and Simulation Models
• FAO SLM adoption costs and barriers
• Gonzales A. Quesungual slash and mulch agroforestry
• Lopes de Silva WT. Soil carbon analysis methods
• Tennigkeit T. Soil carbon overview and issues
• Wassman R. Quantification of GHG emissions from rice
• Wekesa A. SCC-Vi Agroforestry carbon project