Agricultural systems can contribute to climate change mitigation through the application of agricultural practices that enhance carbon storage in vegetation and soils, and reduce green house gas emissions derived from production, livestock, burning, and use of inorganic fertilizers (see Farming and Land Use to Cool the Planet, Chapter for the World Watch Report State of the World 2009: Into a Warming World, by Sara J. Scherr and Sajal Sthapit).
Next is a selection of criteria that define a climate-friendly agricultural landscape. The criteria provide the basis to choose the indicators against which to measure the performance of the landscape through the goals of mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
From the twenty criteria for healthy landscape performance described in Unit 3, four of them relate directly to climate change and the outcomes mentioned above. Click on each criterion to see indicators for measuring their performance in the landscape:
- Conservation criterion C4: The landscape provides locally, regionally, and globally important ecosystem services…including those that contribute to climate regulation and mitigation of climate change.
- Production criterion P3: Production systems are resilient to natural and anthropogenic disturbances including drought, flooding, mudslides and diseases… that may be brought about by climate change.
- Livelihood criterion L5: Households and communities are resilient to external shocks such as drought, flooding, and disease epidemics…that may be brought about by climate change.
- Institutions criterion I4: Markets provide incentives for producers to invest in products and services that can return a profit and also help sustain ecosystem function….such as ‘climate-friendly’ certified outputs.
Choosing indicators to measure the performance of the selected criteria
The criteria provide the basis for selecting and developing indicators, that can be measured and tracked to assess the performance of the landscape.
The Unit 4 provides a guide for developing indicators and measures. In this example, we identified the relationship between the function that the landscape is expected or desired to perform, and corresponding attributes of the system and activities, that are likely to be measurable.
Based on the Theory of Change technique of conceptual modelling for landscape planning, the following diagram depicts some of the relationships that conect system functions and activities with the desired outcomes. The process of creating a conceptual model for our landscape can help to generate indicators that make sens locally. It is important to engage stakeholders in the process. Click on the above Criteria to see the indicators selected.