Quantifying Brazilian Citrus Carbon Stocks

Josh McGill Brazil, Environment

Fundecitrus and Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation) recently began a joint effort to quantify carbon stocks in the citrus belt of São Paulo and Minas Gerais.

The project receives funding from Innocent Drinks. The company’s Farmers Innovation Fund offers financial support for projects that aim to reduce carbon in agriculture and inspire farmers to adopt good practices.

Carbon Stocks
The study will estimate carbon stocks in approximately 600,000 hectares of citrus orchards and native vegetation within Brazilian farms.
(Photo by Felipe Rosa)

The work in the citrus belt will provide data on carbon storage and will involve both orange groves and areas destined for native vegetation of rural properties in a territory of almost 600,000 hectares. Different methodologies will be used for production and preservation areas. The first will involve weighing citrus trees, by sampling, to calculate the average amount of carbon stored in each one. Trees will be weighed in the field and then dried to arrive at estimates per plant, per hectare and for the citrus belt.

Data from the 2021 Tree Inventory, carried out by Fundecitrus, show that the orange production area alone covers more than 400,000 hectares in the citrus belt. Vinícius Trombin, coordinator of the Fundecitrus Harvest Estimation Research, discussed what will be learned. “We will find out what is the carbon sequestration of the orange trees in the belt and how much carbon is fixed in the soil and in the native trees that are in the conservation areas inside the citrus farms,” Trombin said.

Carbon stock is a basic indicator of environmental quality used in international forums. Plants store carbon in their biomass as they capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in photosynthesis.

The carbon is accumulated both in the plant’s body (trunk, branches, leaves, flowers and fruits) and in the organic matter not yet decomposed in the ground (the litter), in the roots and in the soil. Periodic monitoring shows whether an area is sequestering or emitting carbon dioxide, one of the main generators of the greenhouse effect.

In areas destined for conservation, researchers will also assess the monetary value of carbon. Such information might generate remuneration for the environmental service that citrus property provides.

Source: Fundecitrus

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