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Potential for Australian land-sector carbon sequestration and implications for land use, food, water and biodiversity

Technical report

This report presents new analysis of the potential future supply of carbon credits from the 85 Mha intensive-use agricultural land of Australia. We find that agricultural land in Australia has significant potential to store carbon, and to mitigate and offset greenhouse gas emissions over coming decades.

We analyse potential for the supply of carbon credits from carbon plantings (non-harvest, fast-growing, single-species Eucalyptus plantations) as well as environmental plantings (bio-diverse mix of native species plantings designed to recreate local ecosystem composition, structure and function) under a range of global outlooks, levels of carbon payments for land sector sequestration, and market settings to support voluntary biodiversity conservation.

The analysis was based on the Land Use Trade-Offs (LUTO) model of Australian land use futures—an integrated environmental-economic model of land use response over time to different combinations of key global, national, and local drivers.

We explore inertia in the uptake of land use change using an uptake curve which assumes that land use changes over a sixteen year period from when the new land use becomes more profitable than current agricultural use, with half of the transition taking place after eight years. We provide sensitivity analysis of uptake and land use change using adoption hurdle rates which imposed profitability thresholds which must be exceeded before land use change occurs.


Brett A Bryan, Steve Hatfield-Dodds, Martin Nolan, Lisa McKellar, Michael J Grundy and Rebecca McCallum

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