Agriculture / Climate Change

Promoting climate-friendly agriculture with the SAN Standard

The criteria of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard — met by Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms — represent a strategy for achieving social and environmental sustainability in agriculture. This environmental sustainability extends to the farm’s impact on climate change. When farms change their practices to become Rainforest Alliance Certified, the new activities they implement are often lower in greenhouse gas emissions, or, even more often, help to mitigate climate change by increasing carbon sequestration on farms.

Have you ever wondered which of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard’s 94 criteria are important for climate? Here are a few:

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  • Conservation of natural ecosystems on a farm prevents conversion (and the release of carbon dioxide) into land uses with a lesser carbon stock. (2.1)
  • Restoration of natural ecosystems and reforestation of marginal farm areas increases the carbon stock of the farm, hence sequestering more carbon dioxide. (2.1)
  • Only allowing extraction of timber, plants and non-timber forest products that conform to a sustainable management plan will minimize the loss of carbon stocks due to over extraction and wasteful techniques. (2.4)
  • Establishing vegetated protection zones between natural ecosystems, watercourses, areas of human activity and production areas. (2.5 – 2.7)
  • Establishing permanent shade of at least 70 trees per hectare, at a shade density of 40 percent, with a two strata crown structure will increase the carbon stock of the productive areas above non-shade production. (2.8)
  • Requirement for non-shaded farms to have a shade establishment or expansion plan will increase the carbon stock of the farm. (2.8)
  • Minimizing the use of agrochemicals reduces the nitrogen and carbon based green house gas emissions associated with their use, production and transportation. (8.1)
  • Careful application of fertilizers and giving priority to organic fertilizer generated on farm will minimize greenhouse gas emissions. (9.2)
  • By increasing ground cover to prevent soil erosion, the carbon stock of the farm is increased. (9.3)
  • By preventing the burning of land for clearance, the emissions of greenhouse gases from the combustion of vegetation and soil organic matter are avoided. (9.4)
  • By not allowing the cutting of natural forest or land burning, emissions of associated greenhouse gases are avoided. (9.5)

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