The Use of Homegarden Agroforestry Systems for Climate Change Mitigation in Lowlands of Southern Tigray, Northern Ethiopia

Main Article Content

Gebru Eyasu Siyum
Tuemay Tassew


Mitigation of climate change is one of the major environmental challenges facing the globe. In this context, homegarden agroforestry systems (HGAFs) have large potential for climate change mitigation. Therefore, this study was initiated to estimate the biomass and soil carbon stocks of HGAFs in relation to adjacent Natural Forest (NF). It also analyzed the relationship between woody species diversity, evenness and richness with biomass and soil carbon stocks. Three sites were purposely selected on the basis of the presence of HGAFs and NF adjacent to each other. Random sampling was used to select representative homegardens from the study population. In NF, a systematic sampling technique was employed. A total of 60 plots with a size of 10 m x 20 m were used to collect vegetation and soil data in both land uses. Soil samples were collected from each plot of the samples laid for vegetation sampling. Accordingly, 120 composite and 120 undisturbed soil samples from 0-30 cm and 30-60 cm soil depths were collected for soil organic carbon (SOC) and bulk density analysis respectively. Biomass estimation for each woody species was analyzed by using appropriate allometric equations. The result showed that the total amount of carbon stocks was 148.32±35.76 tons ha-1 and 157.27±51.61 tons ha-1 in HGAFs and adjacent NF respectively which did not vary significantly between the two studied land uses (P > 0.05). The finding also shows a positive but non-significant (P>0.05) relationship between carbon stocks and woody species diversity, richness, and evenness. Specifically, in NF lands, woody species diversity with SOC (r=0.36) and in HGAFs species richness with biomass carbon (r=0.39) was correlated positively and significantly (P=0.05). We concluded that HGAFs have the same potential as the NF for carbon stock accumulation and to counteract the loss of biomass.

Carbon stocks, carbon sequestration, forest, soil organic carbon, woody species diversity.

Article Details

How to Cite
Siyum, G. E., & Tassew, T. (2019). The Use of Homegarden Agroforestry Systems for Climate Change Mitigation in Lowlands of Southern Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Asian Soil Research Journal, 2(2), 1-13.
Original Research Article


Nair P, Nair V, Kumar B, Showalter J. Carbon Sequestration in Agroforestry Systems. Adv Agron. 2010;108.

Dey A, Islam M, Masum K. Above ground carbon stock through palm tree in the homegarden of Sylhet City in Bangladesh. J For Environ Sci [Internet]. 2014;30(3): 293–300.

UNFCCC. Report of the conference of parties on its thirteenth session, Bali, Indonesia. In ‘“United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”’ Geneva, Switzerland, UN; 2007.

Montagnini F, Nair P. Carbon sequestration: An under exploited environmental benefit of agroforestry systems. Agrofor Syst. 2004;61: 281–95.

Albrecht A, Kandji ST. Carbon sequestration in tropical agroforestry systems. Agric Ecosyst Environ. 2003;99: 15–27.

Haile S, Nair V, Nair P. Contribution of trees to carbon storage in soils of silvopastoral systems in Florida, USA. Glob Chang Biol. 2010;16:427–438.

Makundi W, Sathaye J. Ghg mitigation potential and cost in tropical forestry —Relative role for agroforestry. Environ Dev Sustain. 2004;6:235–260.

Nair P, Kumar B, Nair V. Agroforestry as a strategy for carbon sequestration. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci. 2009;172:10–23.

Sharrow S, Ismail S. Carbon and nitrogen storage in agroforests, tree plantations, and pastures in western Oregon, USA. Agroforest Syst. 2004;60:123–130.

Takimoto A, Nair P, Nair V. Carbon stock and sequestration potential of traditional and improved agroforestry systems in the West African Sahel. Agric Ecosyst Environ. 2008;125:159–166.

Bardhan S, Jose S, Biswas S, Kabir K, Rogers W. Homegarden agroforestry systems: An intermediary for biodiversity conservation in Bangladesh. Agrofor Syst. 2012;85(1):29–34.

Mattsson E, Ostwald M, Nissanka S, Pushpakumara D. Quantification of carbon stock and tree diversity of homegardens in a dry zone area of Moneragala district, Sri Lanka. Agrofor Syst [Internet]. 2015;89(3): 435–45.

Nair PKR. State-of-the-art of agroforestry research and education. Agrofor Syst. 1993;23(2–3):95–119.

Ruark GA. Agroforestry and sustainability: making a patchwork quilt. J For Res. 1999; 97(56).

Weerahewa J, Pushpakumara G, Daulagala C, Punyawardena R, Premalal S, et al. Are Homegarden ecosystems resilient to climate change an analysis of the adaptation strategies of homegardeners in Sri Lanka. APN Sci Bull. 2012;2(2):22–27.

Wassie A, Sterck FJ, Teketay D, Bongers F. Effects of livestock exclusion on tree regeneration in church forests of Ethiopia. For Ecol Manag J. 2009;257:765–72.

Mebrahtu T. Understanding local forest management institutions and their role in conserving woody species biodiversity: A Case study of Alamata Woreda, southern Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Mekelle; 2009.

Negash M, Kanninen M. The indigenous agroforestry systems of the south-eastern Rift Valley escarpment, Ethiopia: Their biodiversity, carbon stocks and litterfall. Trop For Reports. 2013;44:75.

Harrison RB, Adams AB, Licata C, Flaming B, Wagoner GL, Carpenter P, et al. Quantifying deep-soil and coarse-soil fractions: Avoiding sampling bias. Soil Sci Soc Am J. 2003;67(5):1602–6.

Subedi B, Pandey S, Pandey A, Rana E. Forest carbon stock measurement: Guidelines for measuring carbon stocks in community-managed forests [Internet]. Development. 2010;79.

Snowdon P, Keith H, Raison R. Protocol for sampling tree and stand biomass. Tech Rep No 31. 2002;1–76.

Schmitt-Harsh M, Evans TP, Castellanos E, Randolph JC. Carbon stocks in coffee agroforests and mixed dry tropical forests in the western highlands of Guatemala. Agrofor Syst. 2012;86(2):141–57.

Kuyah S, Sileshi GW, Njoloma J, Mng’omba S, Neufeldt H. Estimating aboveground tree biomass in three different miombo woodlands and associated land use systems in Malawi. Biomass and Bioenergy. 2014;66:214–22.

Kumar and Nair PKR. Carbon Sequestration potential of agroforestry systems: Opportunities and challenges. Springer Sci Media. 2011;8:326.

IPCC. Good practice guidance for land use, land-use change and forestry. National greenhouse gas inventories programme. Organization & Environment. Kanagawa, Japan; 2003.

Kebede B, Soromessa T. Allometric equations for aboveground biomass estimation of Olea europaea L. sub sp. cuspidata in Mana Angetu Forest. Ecosyst Heal Sustain [Internet]. 2018;4(1): 1–12.

Negash M, Starr M, Kanninen M, Berhe L. Allometric equations for estimating aboveground biomass of Coffea arabica L. grown in the Rift Valley escarpment of Ethiopia. Agrofor Syst. 2013;87(4): 953–66.

Kuyah S, Dietz J, Muthuri C, van Noordwijk M, Neufeldt H. Allometry and partitioning of above- and below-ground biomass in farmed eucalyptus species dominant in Western Kenyan agricultural landscapes. Biomass and Bioenergy. 2013;55:276–84.

Chavan B, Rasal G. Total sequestered carbon stock of Mangifera indica. J Env Earth Sci. 2012;2:1.

Mbow C, Noordwijk M, Luedeling E, Neufeldt H, Minang P, Kowero G. Science direct agroforestry solutions to address food security and climate change challenges in Africa. Curr Opin Environ Sustain [Internet]. 2013;6:61–7.

Kuyah S, Sileshi G, Njoloma J, Mng’omba S, Neufeldt H. Estimating aboveground tree biomass in three different miombo woodlands and associated land use systems in Malawi. Biomass and Bioenergy. 2014;66:214–22.

Pearson TRH, Brown SL, Birdsey R a. Measurement Guidelines for the Sequestration of Forest Carbon. Gen Tech Rep NRS-18 Delaware United States Dep Agric - For Serv [Internet]. 2007;18(1):42.

Jackson M. Soil chemical analysis, 6th edn. New jersey: Prentice; halls, Inc., Englewood Cliffs. 1958;498.

Day P. Particle fractionation and particle-size analysis. Methods of soil analysis. Part 1. Physical and mineralogical properties, including statistics of measurement and sampling, (methodsofsoilana). 1965;545-567.

Krebs C. Ecology: The experimental analysis of distribution and abundance. Harper and Row, New York; 1985.

Magurran A. Ecological diversity and Its Measurement. Princetone University Press. Great Britain; 1988.

Roshetko J, Lasco R, Angeles M. Smallholder agroforestry systems for carbon storage. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang; 2006.

Henry M, Tittonell P, Manlay R, Bernoux M, Albrecht A, Vanlauwe B. Biodiversity, carbon stocks and sequestration potential in aboveground biomass in smallholder farming systems of western Kenya. Agric Ecosyst Environ. 2009;129(1–3):238–52.

Charles R, Munishi P, Nzunda E. Agroforestry as adaptation strategy under climate change in Mwanga District, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Int J Environ Prot. 2013;3(11):29–38.

Bajigo A, Tadesse M, Anjulo A, And, Moges Y. Estimation of carbon stored in agroforestry practices in Gununo Watershed, Wolayitta Zone, Ethiopia. J Ecosyst Ecography. 2015;05(01):1–5.

Bazezew MN, Soromessa T, Bayable E. Carbon stock in Adaba-Dodola community forest of Danaba District, West-Arsi zone of Oromia Region, Ethiopia: An implication for climate change mitigation. 2015;7(1): 14–22.

Nalanda BMK. Carbon sequestration potential of tropical homegardens. Springer Netherlands. 2006;(13):185–204.

Negash M, Starr M. Biomass and soil carbon stocks of indigenous agroforestry systems on the south-eastern Rift Valley escarpment, Ethiopia. Plant Soil. 2015;393 (1–2):95–107.

Köhler L, Hölscher D, Leuschner C. High litterfall in old-growth and secondary upper montane forest of Costa Rica. Plant Ecol. 2008;199:163–173.

Don A, Schumacherw J, Freibauer A. Impact of tropical land-use change on soil organic carbon stocks – A meta- analysis. Glob Chang Biol. 2011;17(4): 1658–70.

Negash M, Kanninen M. Modeling biomass and soil carbon sequestration of indigenous agroforestry systems using CO2FIX approach. Agric Ecosyst Environ [Internet]. 2015;203:147–55.

Parras-Alcántara L, Lozano-García B, Galán-Espejo A. Soil organic carbon along an altitudinal gradient in the Despenaperros Natural Park, Southern Spain. Solid Earth. 2015;6(1):125–34.

Li Q, Zhou D, Jin Y, Wang M, Song Y, Li G. Effects of fencing on vegetation and soil restoration in a degraded alkaline grassland in northeast China. J Arid Land [Internet]. 2014;6(4):478–87.

Johnson DW, Curtis PS. Effects of forest management on soil C and N storage: Meta analysis. For Ecol Manage. 2001; 140:227–38.

Mbow C, Smith P, Skole D, Duguma L, Bustamante M. Achieving mitigation and adaptation to climate change through sustainable agroforestry practices in africa. Curr Opin Environ Sustain [Internet]. 2014; 6(1):8–14.

Lal R. Soil carbon sequestration impacts on Global. Sceince. 2004;304(1623).

Post WM, Izaurralde RC, Mann LK, Bliss N, Jones CS, Gibson K. Monitoring and verifying changes of organic carbon in soil. CDIAC Commun. 2001;51(27):73–99.

Kelty MJ. The role of species mixtures in plantation forestry. For Ecol Manage. 2006;233:195–204.

Piotto D. A meta-analysis comparing tree growth in monocultures and mixed plantations. For Ecol Manag J. 2008;255: 781–6.