Forest Garden as a carbon sink?

When I travel around the country and is shorter inspirational lectures on forest gardening I tend to talk a lot of good reasons why I think we should build more timber gardens. For most, the main reason for growing the skogsträdgårdsvis to produce different food (who often can not buy anywhere) in a way that in the long run requires less labor than traditional food production. Sometimes I use the term "passive food production", for after a successful establishment of the plants in the forest garden, they can manage quite well without much care effort. Besides this obvious reason to engage in timber gardening, there are a number of indirect positive repercussions. These we get in the bargain, but we really need to make an effort for the.

year garden book 2018!

Such a result, power is Forest Garden has the potential to capture and store significant amounts of carbon dioxide. A large part of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere comes from the conversion of forested land to farmland and pasture. A third of the world's forests have disappeared since the 1700s [7, 9] and as much as 30 percent of total emissions of greenhouse gases ago 1850 estimated to come from this change in land use [3, 8]. To replant areas that were once covered with trees and shrubs is a way to capture some of these greenhouse gases, and restore them in the ground where they belong from the beginning. This applies, however, to remember that the forests that once existed on fertile arable land in our country from the beginning mainly felled to release more agricultural land. Should they be regenerated without reducing Sweden's miserable subsistence level more [2] needs to be done with food-producing crops - it is in other words a golden opportunity for woodland gardens and the related agroforestry methods to get more space.

In my lecture, I usually based on this reasoning, making a hypothetical rough calculation to illustrate the potential rather small steps have when there are many people who implement them. Research studies have shown that trees- and shrub-dominated farming systems in temperate regions can store around 1 tons of carbon per hectare per year in biomass and between 1 and 96 tonnes per hectare per year on land [6]. If we count low, we can assume that it can be stored in 10 tons of carbon per hectare annually in the Swedish forest gardens, a figure that is consistent with (se unrepresentative) measurements of the change in carbon content in the earth our forest garden here in Southern Dalarna [10].

Domestic forest garden
If more residential gardens looked like this inspiration surface Åfallet forest garden we would probably be able to capture a lot of carbon dioxide and at the same time get a lot of other benefits.

Most timber gardens built today in gardens all over the country. Which will replace the mostly lawn with a food-producing ecosystems. It seems to me to be the best conversion of land, who have only positive effects: in the domestic food production, Biodiversity, koldioxidinlagringen etc..

There are about 1,4 million permanently occupied houses in Sweden and their gardens is estimated to cover an area of ​​approximately 323 000 hectare. Moreover, there is 675 000 homes whose gardens covering an area of 188 000 hectare. Approximately 60% of these gardens consists of either lawn (49%) or hard surfaces (9%) [1]. Based on the discussion of how much carbon dioxide a forest garden can capture and store the Earth's potential as much as 3,1 million tons of carbon that can be stored per year if there are lawns and paved surfaces that are converted to woodland gardens. This corresponds to about 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (1 tons of carbon equivalent 3,6 tonnes CO), compared with Sweden's national carbon emissions at 52,9 million tons in 2016 [5].

Earthworm on hand
It is the earth that much of the carbon dioxide we have too much of the atmosphere belongs. If we can capture and store carbon dioxide while we grow our food becomes optimal.

In other words, a real forest garden revolution could make a significant contribution to getting back carbon dioxide to where it should be: in soil and biomass, in hardwood similar ecosystems. To build more timber gardens here in Sweden is thus one of the least problematic ways to implement the so-called klimatkompensation, not least because it brings so many benefits beyond carbon sequestration and food production.

Obviously, this is a highly theoretical argument. To my knowledge there are no studies on the real forest gardens in similar climates like ours where their koldioxidlagrande ability has been investigated. Nor do we know how fast forest garden becomes a carbon sink, or how long the forest garden is a carbon sink before it reached some sort of equilibrium. However, we know that we as quickly as possible, both must reduce our total emissions and capture as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as we can. If you have more sources of forest garden gate check capability? Get in touch with me!



[1] Bjorkman, L.-L., Leisure cultivation extent in Sweden. 2012.
[2] Furustam, C., Food security globally and in Sweden, 2012.
[3] Houghton, R. and A.A. Nassikas, Global and regional fluxes of carbon from land use and land cover change 1850–2015. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 31(3): p. 456-472, 2017.
[5] Environmental Protection Agency. Territorial emissions and removals of greenhouse gases. 2017.
[6] Ramachandran Nair, P., B. Mohan Kumar, and V.D. Nair, Agroforestry as a strategy for carbon sequestration. Journal of plant nutrition and soil science, 172(1): p. 10-23, 2009.
[7] Ramankutty, N. and J.A. Foley, Estimating historical changes in global land cover: Croplands from 1700 to 1992. Global biogeochemical cycles, 13(4): p. 997-1027, 1999.
[8] Ritchie, H. and M. roses. Co2 and other Greenhouse Gas Emissions. 2018.
[9] Shvidenko, A. and P. Gonzalez, Forest and Woodland Systems. 2005.
[10] Törnqvist, R., Limitations and opportunities of forest gardening in the Swedish climate. Final Report to Project grants GFS2015-0136., 2017.


4 thoughts on “Forest Garden as a carbon sink?”

  • Tack!
    This blog post came as a confirmation of the thoughts I've had since I read about carbon storage in your book. It must be clear that, except that you can do as an individual, that the Forestry and Agricultural Agency will now have a directive to review the support systems for denn atyp of conversion of gardens and especially less (and greater) Agriculture. One must already support spruce cleanup, benefiting biodiversity (deciduous) and clearing up of cultural heritage. The next step is naturally support to save not only ancient cultivated land but also future culture as we know it at all.

  • Great to hear that there is much you can do even as a private person with a small garden in order to contribute to a positive climate impact! Hopeful.

  • Agree with above comments, very good that these perspectives are spread more! There are a lot of positive aspects of the establishment of perennial cropping systems and creating soils with greater water storage capacity. I think the water cycle component of the global climate system will get more and more attention in the future. Here a good introduction if and earth, skogar etc by Charles Eisenstein
    the. gardens as a carbon sink that was written just this in Danish Have New:
    Thank you for taking up this and nicely with your visit here on the west coast Philipp!

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