Farming with Trees: Reforming U.S. Farm Policy to Expand Agroforestry and Mitigate Climate Change

48 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2021 Last revised: 9 Sep 2021

See all articles by Lingxi Chenyang

Lingxi Chenyang

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law; University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, College of Literature, Science & the Arts, Department of Philosophy; Yale University - Law School

Andrew Currie

Yale University; Cambridge University, Judge Business School

Hannah Darrin

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Nathan Rosenberg

Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic; University of Arkansas School of Law

Date Written: October 23, 2020

Abstract

Agroforestry systems have enormous potential to mitigate climate change. These systems incorporate trees and shrubs into agricultural production, increasing both soil carbon sequestration and the amount of carbon stored in biomass. Even the most conservative estimates find that agroforestry sequesters 10-20 times more carbon per acre than the most effective—and better-known—climate-friendly practices for annual crops, such as no-till agriculture and cover crops. If just 10% of agricultural land in the United States were in agroforestry systems, fossil fuel emissions would be offset by as much as 34%. Agroforestry also offers substantial environmental and economic benefits: clean water, reduced fertilizer and pesticide use, greater resiliency, and higher profitability per acre. Yet there are significant legal and policy barriers to its expansion in the United States. This Article reviews, for the first time in the policy literature, the emerging scientific research on agroforestry. The Article then analyzes how federal programs for agricultural loans, subsidies, research, and education favor annual monocultures over agroforestry practices. It concludes with a comprehensive set of reforms designed to expand agroforestry.

Keywords: agriculture, law, climate change

Suggested Citation

Chenyang, Lingxi and Currie, Andrew and Darrin, Hannah and Rosenberg, Nathan, Farming with Trees: Reforming U.S. Farm Policy to Expand Agroforestry and Mitigate Climate Change (October 23, 2020). Ecology Law Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 1, 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3717877 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3717877

Lingxi Chenyang (Contact Author)

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 South University St E
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, College of Literature, Science & the Arts, Department of Philosophy ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI
United States

Yale University - Law School ( email )

New Haven, CT 06511

Andrew Currie

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Cambridge University, Judge Business School ( email )

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom

Hannah Darrin

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Nathan Rosenberg

Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic ( email )

122 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02130
United States

University of Arkansas School of Law ( email )

260 Waterman Hall
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
471
Abstract Views
3,326
Rank
116,560
PlumX Metrics