Study from Imaflora, released on Wednesday (7) in São Paulo, shows 50% reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions per hectare and 90% per kilogram of beef produced through pasture reform and implementation of good agricultural practices.
The strong emissions redutions comes primarily from soil carbon sequestration that occurs on well-managed pasture, while degraded pasture tends to lose micro-organisms and emit carbon into the atmosphere. This change in soil carbon more than compensates for additional emissions from herd growth and the use of inputs, which occur in the sustainable intensified system.
According to Laurent Micol, Director of Governance and Investments at Pecsa, these results are extremely positive: “This is another proof of Pecsa’s activities impact. In addition to increasing production, improving economic results and generating local income, sustainable intensification also brings enormous environmental benefits”, he says. For him, the data show that cattle ranching, today the sector with the largest GHG emissions in Brazil, may be the one that will contribute most to the reductions. “There are few sectors where we can reduce emissions by 90% with investments that make sense from the economic point of view,” he said.
To obtain the results, researchers analyzed five farms totaling 3,500 hectares and 7,500 heads of cattle, participants of the pilot phase of the Programa Novo Campo between 2012 and 2014. These properties had degraded pastures that underwent reform, between 10% and 20% of the area, in addition to other interventions that allowed production intensification. At this stage, the study showed a 25% reduction in GHG emissions per hectare and 60% per kilogram of beef produced. The study also calculated that with the complete reform of the ranches, as in the case of ranches managed by Pecsa, GHG emissions reductions reach the amounts mentioned above (50% per hectare and 90% per kilogram of beef produced).
The GHG Agricultural Protocol calculator was used to evaluate the emissions balance before and after implementation of the good agricultural practices. According to the authors, who previously did a broad review of the available methodology options, this tool was selected because it allows to evaluate the main sources of GHG emission and removal of the cattle ranching system on the farm scale, and also has the advantage of using emission factors that are specific to the Brazilian conditions, which brings more precision to the results.
To access Imaflora´s report click here.