Scientific Research and Essays

  • Abbreviation: Sci. Res. Essays
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1992-2248
  • DOI: 10.5897/SRE
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2748

Review

Positioning fruit trees into climate change/variability scenarios: Opportunities and constraints in the placement of fruit tree species in payment for environmental services

Simon A. Mng’omba* and Tracy Beedy
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Chitedze Research Station, P. O. Box 30798, Lilongwe 3, Malawi.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 20 May 2013
  •  Published: 25 July 2013

Abstract

Extreme environmental conditions due to climate change or variability are a threat to crop production, productivity and livelihoods. Thus, providing alternative livelihoods to communities, especially the rural masses remain an important catalyst in reducing poverty, food insecurity and deforestation in the development of climate change/variability scenarios. This is critical in southern Africa where poverty, deforestation rate and food insecurity are high. These are challenges that rural development programs abating impacts of climate change/variability must address. Planting trees including those outside the forest has been a possible climate change mitigation or adaptation measure. Surprisingly, planting fruit trees have been given little attention and have always aligned to food security, but not their contribution to carbon sequestration and payment for environmental services (PES). There have been limited research studies quantifying carbon sequestration capacities in diverse fruit tree species. This contributes to low profile of fruit tree species in carbon trading. While the emphasis has been on forest trees, those trees outside the forest have also a role to play, especially with proper fruit orchard management systems and propagation protocols that maximize carbon reservoirs. This paper reviews the role of fruit trees in the context of carbon quantities sequestered and the reasons they should be considered in PES or better still carbon trading. It is envisaged that proper fruit tree orchard management practices and propagation protocols can be designed to increase carbon sequestration, while gaining some socio-economic benefits. We hypothesize that proper management of fruit trees offers an opportunity to extend and maximize fruit productivity and carbon storage over a long period. This provides a diverse development option within the framework of climate change/variability mitigation/adaptation. Planting fruit tree species presents many opportunities, but there are still limited documented research studies and piloted projects on any form of PES, especially carbon trading. It is clear that many research studies are warranted to quantify carbon storage within diverse fruit orchards and under different management systems.

 

Key words: Carbon storage, climate variability, dwarfing, grafting, tree biomass.