Pacific Organic & Ethical Trade Community

Climate Change

Organic Agriculture builds resilient farming systems capable of combating climate change, securing local food supplies and is highly effective in sequestrating carbon.

Organic farming has significant potential to avoid or reduce production of greenhouse gases through:

  • Lower use of fossil fuels – organic farming does not use energy demanding synthetic fertilisers as it focuses on maintaining soil fertility through the use of internal farm inputs.
  • Reduction in the production of nitrous oxides – organic farming does not use synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.
  • Reduction in methane production by promoting soil aerobic microorganisms and high levels of soil biological activity.

In addition, organic practices encourage the sequestration of carbon by:

  • Maintaining tight nutrient and energy cycles through organic management of soils;
  • Systematic recycling of organic waste, often by means of composting;
  • Encouraging agro-forestry farming systems;
  • Protecting soil from erosion and associated loss of soil organic matter.

Organic farming also provides strategies that will assist farmers to adapt to the potential impacts of climate change, for example by establishing farming systems that:

  • Lessen the impacts of wind, e.g. through providing shelter for land, farms and people;
  • Are drought resistant and support the conservation of water resources;
  • Are tolerant of higher temperatures and fluctuations in temperature;
  • Encourage use of locally adapted varieties and in situ-adaptation of crop species.

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