A lot of time at climate talks rightly focuses on greenhouse gas emissions. However, while emissions have been rising during the industrial era, global carbon sinks have been declining for millennia as we clear forests for agriculture and lose topsoil to erosion.
The following 'planet hacks' provide tantalising prospects for restoring large carbon sinks in soils and forests while creating secure livelihoods for millions of people. If implemented on a large enough scale, could they even reduce atmospheric carbon concentrations and reverse climate change?
Whether you think COP21 was an historic success or a catastrophic failure, much remains to be done on the ground to avert the worst effects of climate change. Fortunately, there are some simple land management techniques that can have dramatic effects and could lead to a prosperous and sustainable future for all.
A cheap, fast and simple way to reforest landscapes and reverse desertification. Often more successful than tree planting projects, over 50 million hectares of Niger have been reforested this way, adding $200 per year to farmers' incomes in the process.
2. KeyLine Design
Careful water management in the landscape can help to reduce the effects of floods and droughts, while building soil fertility, improving yields and locking up carbon.
3. How to Restore A Rainforest
What started as an orangutan conservation project became a model for restoring devastated rainforests. Because the project provides secure livelihoods for local people, they became protectors of the restored forest.
4. Ecological Rehabilitation, Loess Plateau, China
The spectacular story of how an area of China the size of France was restored from desert to a lush, green, productive landscape, lifting people out of poverty in the process.
5. How to Green the WOrld's Deserts & Reverse Climate Change
How holistic planned grazing of livestock can turn deserts into grasslands, build soil carbon and deliver social, economic and ecological benefits.