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Commercialisation of carbon in the Australian Rangelands could lead to the development of a multi-billion dollar industry, and Western Australia has the potential to capture a significant share of this revenue. A significant proportion of the WA Rangelands is degraded which is the legacy of the exploitative practices of historical pastoral development and the mining industry. Full environmental restoration of these areas is well beyond the fiscal capacity of land managers and the WA State Government. Carbon based enterprises have the potential to restore large tracts of degraded land in a cost-effective manner and can deliver a number of other socio-economic co-benefits to regional WA. The WA Rangelands have the potential to play an important role in mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change primarily through biosequestration and controlled savanna burning programs. There are a number of issues which need to be resolved in order for this potential to be realised. This study makes a contribution to the resolution of some of these issues.

The principal findings from this study include:

1. GHG emissions produced by the three case study businesses ranged from 0.02 to 2 t CO2-e ha-1 yr-1 or 2.2 to 10.9 t CO2-e per cattle unit yr-1 (inclusive of emissions from livestock methane, diesel and petrol consumption and savanna burning).

2. Livestock methane and savanna burning constituted the majority of the GHG emissions that were produced by the case study pastoral businesses (> 90% of the total).

3. The estimated baseline amount of total carbon of the 12 land-systems surveyed in this study ranged from 100 to 373.7 t CO2-e ha-1 (inclusive of carbon stored in the woody vegetation, coarse woody debris, herbaceous standing and surface litter and the soil pools).

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Western Australia, ORIA, Ord River, irrigated agriculture, Kununnurra


Agricultural Economics | Sustainability

Carbon capture project, final report. An evaluation of the opportunity and risks of carbon offset based enterprises in the Kimberley-Pilbara region of Western Australia

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