Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2013, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (1): 80-92.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2013.00009

• Review • Previous Articles    

Review of advances in carbon sequestration potential of agroforestry

PING Xiao-Yan*, WANG Tie-Mei, and LU Xin-Shi   

  1. College of Forestry, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
  • Received:2012-08-06 Revised:2012-12-20 Online:2013-01-01 Published:2013-01-15
  • Contact: PING Xiao-Yan


Agroforestry is regarded as a sustainable land-use management due to its potential for solving the problem of resource deficiency, improving the livelihood of rural areas and reducing environmental degradation. Agroforestry has attracted considerable scientific attention since the Kyoto Protocol because it has relatively high potential for carbon sequestration. Comprehensively understanding the process of carbon sequestration in agroforestry and its response to climate change, environmental variation and management practices is essential for predicting the carbon sequestration potential of agroforestry under varying climate and land-use patterns. This paper first reviews the concept and classification of agroforestry and then proposes the mechanism of higher carbon sequestration in agroforestry systems compared with monocropping or monoculture pasture systems. Furthermore, the methods used for quantifying the carbon sequestration potential of agroforestry and the present challenges are discussed. Based on the systematic review of previous studies, the effects of climatic factors, environmental conditions and management practices on carbon sequestration potential of agroforestry are illustrated. The carbon sequestration potential of agroforestry is relatively low in China compared with other regions around the world. In order to improve the carbon sequestration potential of agroforestry, future studies should focus on enlarging the area of agroforestry, developing appropriate designs and management of agroforestry, selecting appropriate species composition and optimizing the multi-layer structure of agroforestry.