Sub-Saharan Africa is currently experiencing rapid population growth, associated with a significant agricultural intensification. This causes, inter alia, environmental degradation, increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, soil erosion and biodiversity loss. Climate change (CC) exacerbates the vulnerability of the people by increasing temperatures, shifting precipitation regimes (rainy season onset and cessation changes), and altering drought and heavy precipitation risks. Accordingly, sustainable agriculture and food production under climate and land use (LU) change is a crucial factor in improving people’s livelihoods and maintaining peace in the region. Sustainable agriculture must not only be resilient to CC, but also needs to mitigate GHG emissions and increase carbon (C) sequestration in already degraded soils.
The aim of CONCERT is to identify emission mitigation options for the major greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), in parallel with improving food security. This will be tackled through (a) the extension of WASCAL’s current flux observation network, b) estimation and projection of GHG emission budgets for the region, using a fully-coupled regional climate-hydrology-dynamic vegetation model (Earth System Model, ESM), specifically adapted to the WASCAL region, and c) identification of LU options suitable for mitigating GHG emissions, increasing soil C stocks and improving food security for the West African Sudan savanna. This will be achieved by a unique concerted and intertwined observation and modeling strategy in CONCERT. The results will be jointly developed and iterated with stakeholders and communicated to policymakers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for implementation.