Leading Indian Researchers and Policy Advisors Receive Training to Estimate Climate Impacts of Land Management Practices

September 11, 2019
Raul Arce-Contreras, (212) 616-1428, rcontreras@edf.org

(New Delhi - September 11, 2019) Indian and international land managers, policy makers, government employees, agronomists, and soil scientists from 15 research organizations and think tanks participated in a three day training from 9th to 11th September to learn the climate change mitigation potential of sustainable land management practices.

This training took place as delegates to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, or UNCCD, the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management, met in New Delhi to discuss connections between land use and climate change. 

Eleanor Milne, one of the trainers from Colorado State University, remarked: “The way the world uses and manages land is intrinsically linked to livelihoods and how much food, fuel and fibre people generate, as well as the current climate crisis.” 

Richie Ahuja, Senior Director at Environmental Defense Fund, added: “By understanding and calculating the climate impact of land use, researchers and policy advisors can better recommend land management strategies that are sustainable and help farmers grow while mitigating against climate change.” 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recently released Special Report on Climate Change and Land found that climate impacts are already undermining food security and livelihoods. The report also found that better land use management can help mitigate climate change, but the window for making these changes is closing fast. 

To efficiently promote and incentivize best land-use practices, policymakers need to determine their climate impacts under current (business-as-usual) scenarios as well as the potential reductions under new scenarios. Participants of this training learned to use the Carbon Benefits Project’s (CBP) online greenhouse gas calculator that is linked to a global database of sustainable land management practices called the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies, or WOCAT. The training showed how landscape scale projects can contribute to Land Degradation Neutrality - a key aim of the UNCCD’s effort to stop land degradation and how national and state policy decisions can impact climate resilience. 

Land use types covered in the training included forestlands, grasslands, croplands (annual, perennial and agro-forestry), wetlands, trees in settlements and emissions from livestock. Attendees learned to evaluate, track and report carbon stocks, and also learned about the net greenhouse gas impacts of land-use change projects, including changes in nitrogen, water or organic matter management, introduction of cover crops, agro-forestry or forestation projects. 

Over the three days, participants trained to use the following CBP online tools:

1. The Simple Assessment—suitable for a quick assessment at any stage, including proposals.
2. The Detailed Assessment—suitable for detailed reporting in projects with a reasonable focus on climate change mitigation.
These tools can be used to estimate the GHG impacts of projects from the local to the landscape scale and larger. Users went through a training exercise using an example data set and had the opportunity to use the system with their own project data in the second part of the training.
3. The Costs Benefit Analysis and DPSIR socio-economic tools.
4. An overview of the WOCAT database and how it is linked to the CBP.

After the workshop, users will be in a position to use the CBP online tools to comprehensively assess and report the benefits (including GHG mitigation) from land management projects and programs.

Colorado State University, Environmental Defense Fund and University of Bern co-hosted the training, which is result of a Global Environment Facility Project implemented by UN Environment.  

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