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Climate Change, Carbon Sequestration, and Coconut-Based Ecosystems

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Abstract

Climate change, a key global environmental issue of the day, refers to the gradual increase in temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere. It is believed to be caused by the increase in atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). Concerned by the serious consequences of anthropogenic climate change, several global initiatives have been launched to address the issue. They fall under two broad categories, climate-change mitigation and adaptation, aimed at reducing GHG emissions and their negative impacts, respectively. Carbon sequestration, the prominent mitigation strategy, refers to capturing atmospheric carbon and securing it in long-lived pools, such as through photosynthesis by plants. Climate-smart agriculture is the rallying theme for adaptation strategies, which is a combination of site-specific management activities. Most climate-change mitigation and adaptation studies in agriculture so far have focused on annual crops, with little attention being paid to perennials such as coconut. Coconut-based ecosystems offer good possibilities for enhancing carbon sequestration through crop combinations involving a variety of plants including food crops, tubers, vines, and tree crops. For climate-change adaptation, the annual intercrops planted under coconuts could be managed for optimum benefits for the whole system. A holistic approach focusing on the overall productivity and sustainability of the whole system rather than the palm alone is needed to make the coconut-based agroecosystems resilient to climate change.
... India has a long history of coconut cultivation spanning over three millennia [52] . The crop is inseparably intertwined with the socio-cultural heritage and economic wellbeing of the people of Kerala, as in other coconut-growing regions of the world [47] . It is ingrained in folklores and has been celebrated by poets over centuries. ...
... Indeed, the state's coconut area decreased dramatically between 2010-11 and 2015-16, but it increased significantly after that, by about 1,00,000 ha in 2018-19. It should be noted, however, that it is difficult to estimate the area under coconuts precisely due to a lack of standardized procedures for estimating areas when the species grows at different densities and is planted and nurtured as a crop either alone or in combination with other species [47] . Coconut production trends paralleled the fluctuations in area ( Fig. 4 ). ...
... An array of ecosystem services such as provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural services [45] are provided by the coconutbased multi-strata, multi-species ecosystems [47] . This includes crop species yielding food, fiber, fuel, fodder, timber, medicine, and other basic necessities ( Table 2 and Fig. 9 A-C), besides cash returns [ 28 , 39 ]. ...
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Agricultural intensification in the past has led to many land-use-related issues around the world, and nature-based solutions (NbS) in farming seek to offset those negative consequences. NbS, in addition to promoting sustainable production of goods and resources and preserving ecosystem integrity, provides a range of ecosystem services. Mixed-species systems such as agroforestry, including the coconut-based farming systems (CBFS), are excellent examples of NbS. The CBFS, which involves many sciophytic agricultural crops, not only ensures economic benefits, but also improves crop productivity. They produce a variety of food items (fruits, nuts, tubers, and so on), earning the moniker "coconut-based food forests," and have the potential to enrich agrobiodiversity. Biological carbon sequestration is another important attribute of CBFS. Crop combinations that include a variety of species, particularly tree crops, have the potential to increase carbon sequestration while also delivering diverse provisioning and cultural services. Kerala, the "Land of Coconut Trees," witnessed a "coconut boom" from 1955 to 2000, although production and area have been fluctuating since then. The functional dynamics of CBFS and the natural resource challenges they address, as well as the ecosystem services CBFS provides and the biodiversity outcomes, are reviewed in this article, with a focus on Kerala.
... The term Agroforestry is defined as a land-use system in which agricultural crops, shrubs and pastures are cultivated in association with trees (Nair et al., 2018). The traditional agroforestry experiences a short delay between this integrated farming technique as the agricultural crops grows more rapidly than the trees, and the waste obtained altogether from these fields is defined as agroforestry waste (Nunes et al., 2020a;Bolzonella et al., 2017). ...
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Agroforestry, an integration of farming system with woody perennials leads to the generation of potential agroforestry residues. The conventional treatment of agroforestry waste includes landfilling, thermal management, and decomposition which is accompanied with their own share of disadvantages. The ample amount of residues and products needs effective management to reap the economic and environmental benefits. The channel of waste collection, transportation, and recycle or valorization into products like biofuel, fertilizers, biochar, industrial chemicals is essential to maintain a circular sustainable bioeconomy. Global market value of biowaste to bioenergy (BtB) technology is roughly US $25.32 billion and is projected to enhance to US $40 billion by 2023. Employment of an appropriate pretreatment technology such as fermentation, hydrolysis, gasification etc. is going to elevate the degree of valorization along with surpassing the mobilization barrier. The sustainability assessment of the management process can be achieved with multiple models including technoeconomic analysis, life cycle assessment and multi criteria approach which are dependent on both hard and soft indices. Additionally, the loopholes of the agroforestry sectors would be managed by the introduction of appropriate policies which are undertaken globally by the Orlando and Lugo declarations, food and agriculture organization, Millennium Development Goals, Global Research Alliance and Guidelines for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development. The present review envisaged the agroforestry waste management strategy and its sustainability assessment primarily based upon Social, Economic and Environmental parameters without tormenting the future generations.
... Other particularities and solutions were highlighted by the researchers, such as the presented in Table 4. Table 4. Particularities and solutions highlighted by the literature for a more balanced agricultural development. [119] Fodder banks [120] Fermentation of agricultural waste [121] Models to identify tomato ripeness [122] No-tillage, waste management, and agricultural diversification [123] Conservation agriculture [124] Based on conservation tillage systems [125] Nanotechnology [126] Including for carbon management in soil [127] Drought-tolerant seeds [128] Integrated pest control, combined crop-animal agriculture and organic composting [129] Fertilizer trees and shrubs [130] Terrace landscapes [131] Annual crops planted with coconuts [132] Agroforestry structures [133] Microalgae [134] Dambo cultivation [135] Valorisation of agro-food byproducts [136] Traditional agriculture [137] Integrated farming systems [138] '4R' approach (right source, right rate, right time, right place) [139] Agronomic rotations and cover cropping [140] "Positive Deviance" (identifying practices from farms with higher performance) [141] Genetic strategies [142] Vertical farming [143] In the cities [144] Crop residues management through principles of bioeconomy [145] Certification strategies These solutions as CSA are not universal [146] and depend on the specificities of each context [147]. ...
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