A project to green agricultural land in Quebec

To fight climate change, an organization will implement a project to promote green agricultural land thanks to a $4.5 million grant from the Quebec government.

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Over the next three years, the Jour de la Terre organization will plant trees, plants and herbaceous plants at specific target sites to collect data to measure potential climate gains.

The sites in question are spread across Quebec to measure their impact in different situations.

“It will be on non-cultivable agricultural land. We don’t want to compete between trees and food. There are places along streams and on steep slopes where you can’t grow anything,” said Cowboys Fringants founder Jérôme Dupras, who serves as spokesperson for the Demain la forêt project, Earth Day Canada.

The latter sees great potential in agricultural areas in the fight against and in adapting to climate change.

“A degraded place, yes you can plant trees and it’s good for carbon, but besides that you may have just avoided a landslide, you’re improving the water quality and in some cases we’re finding endangered species there and we’re recreating habitats,” he said as an example.

The Union of Agricultural Producers and the Canada Research Chair in Ecological Economics at the Université du Québec en Outaouais will also participate in the project, which aims on the one hand to raise farmers’ awareness of these issues and to collect data on the benefits that this greening comes with can bring.

“The project aims to acquire knowledge to know which tree species are good, how to properly stabilize the soil and what role it plays in biodiversity. There will be a lot of research for this,” explained Mr. Dupras.

His team estimates that up to a million additional trees could be planted in the agricultural sector without impacting farmers’ activities.

“We have very advanced modeling approaches. We search with geographic information data, satellite data. And we have several criteria to help us target the country,” he explained.

He pointed out that the same data also makes it possible to target locations where the benefits would be greatest.

The Quebec government recalled that agricultural land is already facing several challenges, including drought and soil erosion.

“This pilot project will allow us to examine more closely the possible contribution of different nature-based solutions to the achievement of climate change mitigation and adaptation goals and to determine which practices should be prioritised,” said Benoit Charette, Minister for the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change.

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