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Combating Climate Change through Nature-based & Agri-based Removal :

Planting trees is a crucial component of efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change. The plantations can restore landscapes, which can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation by increasing the productivity of landscapes, enhancing the resilience of forest ecosystems and landscapes, and reducing the vulnerability of forest‐dependent communities. Planting billions of trees across the world is one of the biggest and cheapest ways to take CO2 out of the atmosphere to tackle the climate crisis. As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global warming. As a result, large-scale tree planting projects have been initiated around the world.

CARD (Centre for Advanced Research and Development) is one of the few NGOs in Central India that has maintained a strong grassroots presence in almost all parts of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, specialized in watershed rehabilitation and plantation, and also worked extensively on NTFP based livelihood generation. CARD has been actively participating in the development and implementation of global climate change policies and making contributions to climate change mitigation through the projects listed below.

Climate change approach and Sustainability strategies

  1. Nature-based removal: Afforestation, Reforestation, Revegetation (ARR)

Afforestation and Carbon Offset Project in Central India: The E&Y Foundation has partnered with CARD for plantation in 1000 hectares of waste lands during 2022-25, maintain and protect plantations to sequester carbon from the atmosphere and obtain carbon offsets. CARD has already planted in 300 ha of degraded land in the revenue area of Ghughri block of Mandla district. These areas are degraded or waste land; in the past, villagers relied on this land for firewood, timber, and NTFP collections. In recent decades, these existing species have declined gradually, and currently the land is used only for cattle grazing. This project gives the opportunity to bring life back to the degraded land and improve the sustainability of the resources. Native species that have the potential to sequester carbon have been planted in the project's six villages. The project gives the locals a way to support themselves while working on the plantations and its protection.

2.  Agriculture-based removal: (Agro-forestry & Natural farming)

Sustainable agricultural practices like conservation tillage involve reducing the amount of tillage or plowing done in fields, which can reduce soil erosion, improve water retention, and increase carbon sequestration. Crop rotation, intercropping, and cover cropping are other practices that can improve soil health, there by leading to higher crop yields and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the amount of organic matter in the soil.

  • Community-managed Natural Farming

CARD has been promoting natural farming techniques through its programme Aap Cheti Aap Kheti in Mahakaushal region of Madhya Pradesh. The programme was promoted through MKSP and SDTT support. As of now CARD is network partner of Natural Coalition for Natural Farming (NCNF) is a collaborative platform for accelerating the spread of agro ecology-based farming practices in their multiple variants, improving on existing practices, and collaborating for policy discourse in Dindori block in the Dindori district. This program promotes agro-ecology specific crop diversification and a steady movement away from mono-cultural systems of farming, by incorporating a locally appropriate mix of nutri-cereals, pulses, oilseeds, fruits, and vegetables.

CNF methods like dry, wet, and live mulching and 365-day multi-layered multiple cropping quickly build soil microbiota and aeration, which improves water percolation, soil water retention, and air-water harvesting. CNF and soil humus increase plant water needs. This reduces water input, improves agricultural water efficiency, and drought-proofs crops without affecting yields.

  • Agroforestry: Establishing Resilient Agriculture Systems with RPLC Program

Regenerative Production Landscape Collaborative (RPLC) program aims to develop resilient agriculture systems that are regenerative and nature positive while creating equitable socio-economic benefits for smallholder farmers and opportunities for businesses to source responsibly through inclusive supply chains. The program is being implemented in nine cotton growing districts of Madhya Pradesh, including Dhar where CARD is local implementing partner. The program integrates the two core strategies i.e. Regenerative Agriculture (on farm) and Landscape Restoration (beyond farm). Both of which are urgently required to increase the productivity of farmers in a sustainable way, so they yield more from the same land, while de-risking them from the effects of climate change and environmental degradation. This is also the first step to the establishment of ‘Regenerative Production Landscapes’ where agriculture production is de-linked from degradation of land, high GHG emissions, biodiversity loss or even perpetuating low incomes, therefore supporting companies’ commitments to sourcing sustainably – and bringing about a shift from Certification to Landscape level approaches. The other perspective partners in the programme are TNC-India, ADH, Laudes Foundation, etc.

Mainstreaming Agroforestry in the intensive cropping systems for improving soil and reducing emissions in western Madhya Pradesh, aims to:

  1. Develop an understanding of the key impediments involved in adoption of agroforestry at scale in the region and co-develop strategies to address them by convening relevant stakeholders.

  2. Pilot co-developed strategies to address some of the key impediments for adoption of Agroforestry in the region at scale. Demonstrate Agroforestry models on intensive agriculture systems (cotton, wheat, and soy).

  3. Evaluate efficacy of specific models and designs (bund plantation and interplanting in key crops) from a GHG emission, soil, water, and bio-diversity perspective.

  4. Share findings to inform policy, on-ground practices, and facilitate investments on advancing Agroforestry by convening and engaging with private sector, government, and NGOs.

The project is implemented in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh as part of the Regenerative Production Landscape Collaborative (RPLC).  It is CARD's responsibility to demonstrate the efficacy of agroforestry through the implementation of a pilot program in four villages of two panchayats (Pipllya mota & Umarban Kala) in the Umarvan block of Dhar district.   

This initial pilot will introduce agroforestry to 500 hectares of cropland as part of the project. The primary tree species, according to suggestions from farmers, will be teak, neem, katal, drumstick, guava, citrus, custard apple, etc. The project will benefit 408 farming families and enhance the quality of the soil and water.

  • Developing carbon projects with the most vulnerable communities:

We take a holistic approach to carbon offsetting by developing projects that not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also uplift communities and enhance biodiversity. Our expertise lies in developing carbon offset projects that provide sustainable co-benefits and promote a better future for all. We work on a variety of projects, such as those that use natural solutions, enhance soil and water quality, create livelihoods, promote sustainable agriculture, and use regenerative techniques. We believe that carbon offsetting is not just about reducing emissions but also about creating a positive impact on the environment and communities. By partnering with us, organizations can achieve their sustainability goals while making a meaningful impact on the world.

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