The initiative has the support of the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA).

Determining the carbon balance in agricultural and livestock farms, identifying mitigation measures that strengthen the generation of carbon neutral production systems, is the objective of the project that the Agricultural Research Institute (INIA) together with the Forestry Institute ( INFOR), with the support of the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA), all institutions dependent on the Ministry of Agriculture.

The initiative considers an important and unprecedented public-private strategic alliance, with the main trade associations and corporations of the agricultural sector in southern Chile such as FEDELECHE, FEDECARNE, Consorcio Lechero, CorpCarne, SOFO and Avellanos Patagonia.

Francisco Salazar, INIA researcher and project leader explained that “our country has commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the government has expressed its decision to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The foregoing has promoted the development of initiatives to achieve this objective, such as this project that will allow INIA and INFOR to have the skills of professional teams, which are currently responsible for generating the Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the Agriculture and Forestry sector, to analyze and implement methodologies that allow the carbon balance to be evaluated at farm and annual scale. To this end, and in conjunction with the project's partner producer associations, representative properties of the milk, meat, fruit trees and crops will be identified, located in the regions of La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos, where the balances of carbon".

The expert highlighted that “the Agriculture sector (which includes livestock) is the second source of greenhouse gas emissions, after the Energy sector, which is the largest emitter both in Chile and worldwide, that is why it is so important to determine the sources of emissions and propose mitigation strategies, but at the same time, establish the contribution of the Forestry sector, which captures carbon through native forests and plantations and contributes positively to the carbon balance ”.

He added that “currently the National GHG Inventory (INGEI) considers emissions and captures at the regional and national level and reports country information to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change. In the case of the Agriculture sector, emissions from agricultural systems, including forests, are considered as national accounting, which does not allow a look at the farm scale ”.

The INIA specialist indicated that “until now in the country there is little or no information on the carbon sequestration of grasslands and estimates of tree species in small or isolated areas, and of the contribution of fruit trees, so today there is great interest of the producer sector to have national information, which is manifested in the broad support for this proposal ”.

For the Head of the Research Line for Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change of the Forestry Institute (INFOR) and alternate director of the project, Dr. Yasna Rojas, “the livestock systems of the south in this case, have a unique opportunity to contribute to the National goals for reducing GHG emissions, since as part of their natural condition they maintain forests or patches of forests that naturally contribute to the capture of CO2. Furthermore, determining this contribution and possible improvements in forest management will help position agricultural systems, improving the sustainability of the sector ”.

In this regard, Dr. Salazar stressed that "in addition to the presence of forests and groves of the estates in the southern zone, there has also been a growing increase in the area of fruit trees, which could contribute to carbon sequestration."

In his opinion, “it is necessary to know, on a farm scale, the carbon balance and move towards carbon neutrality, which implies knowing the contribution of soils under prairie and fruit trees to carbon sequestration, estimating the impact of potential measures of mitigation such as changes in the diet of animals and the optimization of nitrogen fertilization and manure management, among others, estimating the current contribution of forests and determining future actions that allow improving their contribution, such as the recovery of degraded forests and the incorporation of new forests through afforestation in areas of the property with forest use capacity ”.

This project, once completed, will allow to have the carbon balance of representative agricultural systems, a methodology that can be replicated to other areas and areas of the country, and to identify and propose practices and generate recommendations for decision makers, to optimize the carbon balance to property and national level. "Along with this, the dissemination of the project's results is considered through workshops with stakeholders, talks, seminars and publications," concluded Dr. Salazar.

 About INIA

The Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA) is the main institution for agri-food research, development and innovation in Chile. Linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, it has a national presence and a work team of more than 1,000 highly qualified people. It executes an average of 400 projects per year around 5 strategic areas: Climate Change, Sustainability, Food of the Future, Emerging Technologies, and Extension and Training of Capacities. These initiatives contribute to the sustainable agri-food development of the country, creating value and proposing innovative solutions to farmers, strategic partners and society, generating a social profitability that varies between 15% and 25%, for each peso invested in each of their projects.

INIA, more than 55 years leading the sustainable agri-food development of Chile.

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Press contact: Luis Opazo, MCE Journalist in Charge of Communications at INIA Remehue. Cel. +56997005745 e-mail: lopazo@www.inia.cl