Agroforestry: a sustainable environmental practice for carbon sequestration under the climate change scenarios-a review

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2017 Apr;24(12):11177-11191. doi: 10.1007/s11356-017-8687-0. Epub 2017 Mar 9.


Agroforestry is a sustainable land use system with a promising potential to sequester atmospheric carbon into soil. This system of land use distinguishes itself from the other systems, such as sole crop cultivation and afforestation on croplands only through its potential to sequester higher amounts of carbon (in the above- and belowground tree biomass) than the aforementioned two systems. According to Kyoto protocol, agroforestry is recognized as an afforestation activity that, in addition to sequestering carbon dioxide (CO2) to soil, conserves biodiversity, protects cropland, works as a windbreak, and provides food and feed to human and livestock, pollen for honey bees, wood for fuel, and timber for shelters construction. Agroforestry is more attractive as a land use practice for the farming community worldwide instead of cropland and forestland management systems. This practice is a win-win situation for the farming community and for the environmental sustainability. This review presents agroforestry potential to counter the increasing concentration of atmospheric CO2 by sequestering it in above- and belowground biomass. The role of agroforestry in climate change mitigation worldwide might be recognized to its full potential by overcoming various financial, technical, and institutional barriers. Carbon sequestration in soil by various agricultural systems can be simulated by various models but literature lacks reports on validated models to quantify the agroforestry potential for carbon sequestration.

Keywords: Climate variability; Environmental sustainability; Forest; Land use management; Model; Soil.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Carbon
  • Carbon Sequestration*
  • Climate Change*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Forestry*
  • Soil
  • Trees


  • Soil
  • Carbon