A review of the potential role of greenhouse gas abatement in native vegetation management in Queensland's rangelands

Henry, Beverley, Danaher, T., McKeon, G. M., & Burrows, W. H. (2002) A review of the potential role of greenhouse gas abatement in native vegetation management in Queensland's rangelands. Rangeland Journal, 24(1), pp. 112-132.

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Concern about the risk of harmful human-induced climate change has resulted in international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. We review the international and national context for consideration of greenhouse abatement in native vegetation management and discuss potential options in Queensland. Queensland has large areas of productive or potentially productive land with native woody vegetation cover with approximately 76 million ha with woody cover remaining in 1991. High rates of tree clearing, predominantly to increase pasture productivity, continued throughout the 1990s with an average 345,000 ha/a estimated to have been cleared, including non-remnant (woody regrowth) as well as remnant vegetation. Estimates of greenhouse gas emissions associated with land clearing currently have a high uncertainty but clearing was reported to contribute a significant proportion of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 (21%) to 1999 (13%). In Queensland, greenhouse emissions from land clearing were estimated to have been 54.5 Mt CO(2)-e in 1999. Management of native vegetation for timber harvesting and the proliferation of woody vegetation (vegetation thickening) in the grazed woodlands also represent large carbon fluxes. Forestry (plantations and native forests) in Queensland was reported to be a 4.4 Mt CO(2)-e sink in 1999 but there are a lack of comprehensive data on timber harvesting in private hardwood forests. Vegetation thickening is reported for large areas of the c. 60 million ha grazed woodlands in Queensland. The magnitude of the carbon sink in 27 million ha grazed eucalypt woodlands has been estimated to be 66 Mt CO(2)-e/a but this sink is not currently included in Australia's inventory of anthropogenic greenhouse emissions. Improved understanding of the function and dynamics of natural and managed ecosystems is required to support management of native vegetation to preserve and enhance carbon stocks for greenhouse benefits while meeting objectives of sustainable and productive management and biodiversity protection.

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ID Code: 75142
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1071/rj02006
ISSN: 1036-9872
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2002 C S I R O Publishing
Deposited On: 17 Aug 2014 23:17
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2014 23:17

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