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Potential carbon mitigation and income in developing countries from changes in use and management of agricultural and forest lands

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J. O. Niles
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This paper explores the opportunities for mitigating atmospheric carbon emissions and generating development income in developing countries through a combination of sustainable agricultural practices on existing lands, slowing tropical deforestation, and reforesting degraded lands.The analysis shows that over the next ten years, forty-eight major tropical and subtropical developing countries have the potential to reduce the atmospheric carbon burden by about 2.2 billion tonnes of carbon. Given a central price of $10 tonne of carbon and a discount rate of 3%, this mitigation would generate a net present value of about $16.1 billion collectively for these countries. Achieving these potentials would require a significant global effort, covering more than fifty million hectares of land, to implement carbon-friendly practices in agriculture, forest, and previously forested lands.Estimates of host-country income potentials do not consider that outside financial investment may or may not be available and take no account of the additional benefits of carbon sequestration in forest soils undergoing reforestation, increased use of biomass, and reduced use of fossil fuel inputs and reduced agricultural emissions.Realising these incomes would necessitate substantially greater policy support and investment in sustainable land uses than is currently the case.