Knowledge for better food systems

Zero Carbon Australia: Land use agriculture and forestry discussion paper

This report by Zero Carbon Australia, outlines how research on greenhouse gas emissions from land use (agriculture and forestry) can be reduced to zero net emissions, coupled with economic opportunities and increased resilience in the face of climate change. The land use sector is the second largest source of emissions in Australia and is highly exposed to the impacts of climate change. 15% of total emissions in Australia are from the agriculture and forestry sectors, the largest component of which is land clearing for grazing.

Key findings:

1.     The land use sector can take a lead role in addressing climate change.

2.     Australia can drastically reduce its agricultural emissions to around net zero by   implementing changes to some agricultural activities and limited revegetation.

3.     Revegetation of an overall average of 13% of cleared land can draw down sufficient carbon to balance ongoing emissions from land use activities.

4.     The eucalyptus tall open forests of south-east Australia can sequester 7,500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide if allowed to recover from clear fell logging.

The authors calculated the amount of reforestation needed to bring net emissions to zero; it would require the reassigning of 13% of cleared land to carbon sequestration. The authors claim that this is possible at a cost of approximately $5.3 billion per year.

You can find the report here.

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This region of Oceania comprises Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. Its ecozone forms a distinct region with a common geologic and evolutionary history which has resulted in a set of unique types of animals and plants. Due to the reverse seasonality with the US and Europe, much food produce is exported to these countries in the winter from Australia and New Zealand. Except for the lush rainforest of Queensland and the east, much of the Australia is arid and unsuitable for arable agriculture. The country is considered highly vulnerable to climate change and associated impacts including droughts and wildfires.

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