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Corey Bradshaw_Brave new green world: the costs and benefits of a carbon economy for the conservation of Australian biodiversity

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Corey Bradshaw_Brave new green world: the costs and benefits of a carbon economy for the conservation of Australian biodiversity

  1. 1. Brave new green worldconsequences of a carbon economy for theconservation of Australian biodiversityCorey J. A. BradshawThe Environment Institute, The University of Adelaide
  2. 2. Kyoto Protocol • established 1997 • binding targets to reduce GHG emissions by 5 % (2008-2012) relative to 1990 (1st commitment) • Australia non-signatory until 2007 • 2nd commitment (2013-2020): Australia all signed-up 1. emissions trading (carbon market) 2. Clean Development Mechanism (reduction in developing nations) 3. joint implementation (between countries) • 2nd commitment allows forest management for GHG (not 1st)
  3. 3. Carbon Farming Initiative • established 2011 • financial incentive to land managers & farmers to reduce GHG emissions from BAU or sequester (store) C on land (offset scheme) • Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCU) = 1 t CO2-e = AU$23 (as of 01/07/12) • ACCU rise 2.5 % yr-1 until 2014/2015; set by market thereafter • emissions-avoidance: agricultural, introduced animal & legacy landfill emissions • sequestration-offsets: sequestering C in plants as they grow, increasing soil organic matter, avoided vegetation loss, afforestation, reforestation, revegetation, rangeland restoration and native forest protection • must be additional, no leakage, permanent (unholy trinity) van Oosterzee et al. 2012 Conserv Lett 5:266
  4. 4. Implications for Australian biodiversity?How will land use change under CFI? 1. environmental plantings 2. policies and practices to deal with native regrowth 3. fire management 4. forestry management 5. agricultural practices (including cropping and grazing) 6. feral animal control Bradshaw et al. 2013 Biol Conserv In press
  5. 5. Environmental Plantings • ~ 40 % Australia’s forests destroyed since European colonisation • much of remainder highly fragmented • large investment in tree planting • potential ‘bio-perversity’ of plantations vs. ‘natural’ reforestation • hydrology changes likely; local species choice & planting regime important • afforestation/reforestation on marginal agricultural land depend on ACCU $ • C stock in undisturbed forest > logged or monoculture forest b/c fixation rate in young forest does not compensate for  C stock • plantings must be diverse, resilient & link with existing patches; should dovetail with other national biodiversity initiatives (e.g., Gondwana Link, Wildlife Corridors) Bradshaw et al. 2013 Biol Conserv In press
  6. 6. Regrowth• most broad-scale clearing in Australia now illegal• regrowth in once-cleared areas substantial element of biomass carbon• regrowth management: action of keeping (not clearing) existing, human-modifed vegetation, or avoiding cropping/continuous grazing• vegetation retention under Aus legislation defaults to regrowth• most young regrowth can be legally re-cleared for agriculture, so has potential C role• substantial state differences in regrowth protection legislation Bradshaw et al. 2013 Biol Conserv In press
  7. 7. Regrowthregrowth protected if• NSW: > 10 yrs since last clearing or > 50 % foliage cover of veg present prior to European settlement• QLD: > 70 % of the pre-European canopy height• VIC: > 50 % of the pre-European species composition• some states (NSW & QLD), native regrowth in over-cleared landscapes might already be protected for biodiversity as the only remaining habitat• some regrowth declared ‘invasive native species’ (NSW) so may be replaced with more productive vegetation cover, or re-cleared for agriculture• some states, legislation prevents thinning of dense regrowth Bradshaw et al. 2013 Biol Conserv In press
  8. 8. Fire • applying fire at the right time can increase C storage (indirectly) and abate non-GHG emissions • reducing intensity/frequency of high-intensity fires; minimising fuel burnt • not subject to permanency requirement • world’s first landscape-scale C & fire management scheme: WALFA: 100,000 t CO2-e yr-1 (non-CO2 GHG only) • probably wouldn’t work in southern Australia • carbon/biodiversity values in savannas currently aligned, but over long term? • debatable whether prescribed burning can ultimately reduce fire frequencies Bradshaw et al. 2013 Biol Conserv In press
  9. 9. Bradshaw et al. 2013 Biol Conserv In press
  10. 10. Forestry • historic transition from old-growth forest to plantation harvest • fire often used to remove logging debris (now less attractive) • fire-dependent, tall eucalypt forests might not have ‘carbon carrying capacity’ – begs question, what is ideal stand age mix? • increasing rotation times advocated for higher C retention & biodiversity benefits, but currently not covered under CFI • Australia has poor data with which to estimate C life cycle budget from forestry • high possibility of leakage if focus solely on forest conservation in Australia • forestry wastes peripheral source of Aus energy (bioenergy): 1% of 1% • higher demand for wood? low-emissions goods b/c exempt from many emissions taxes Bradshaw et al. 2013 Biol Conserv In press
  11. 11. Agriculture • 60% Aus devoted to cropping & grazing • reduction in N fertilisers (reduce NOx, CO2 from manufacture & transport) • add biochar • reduce tillage frequency • perennials replacing annuals • increase retention & regrowth of native shrubs • reduce grazing pressure (number, rotation) • kangaroos replace cattle/sheep? • biodiversity enhancement in all but regrowth retention & livestock reduction questionable • all modifications subject to additionality requirements Bradshaw et al. 2013 Biol Conserv In press
  12. 12. Feral Animals • methane (CH4) ~ 20 % of anthropogenic global warming • from fossil fuels, ruminant digestion & anaerobic veg decay • 25× more potent than CO2 for atmospheric warming over 100 years • C credits potentially claimable for: “Introduced animal emissions avoidance projects; projects that avoid emissions of methane from the digestive tract of an introduced animal or emissions of methane or nitrous oxide from the decomposition of introduced animal urine or dung” • 1 proposal so far for camels • suspect numbers Bradshaw et al. 2013 Biol Conserv In press
  13. 13. Feral Animals 17.5×Bradshaw et al. 2013 Biol Conserv In press
  14. 14. • largest potential GHG mitigation using ecology: enhancing woody biomass• most landscape changes likely compatible with biodiversity maintenance/enhancement• but potentially many negative biodiversity outcomes if not done based on sound ecological principles• more research on synergies, economics of trade-offs• future conservation planning needs to incorporate GHG abatement values• future C pricing largest driver of optimal trade-offs• arid Australia still largely a C mystery• feedback from climate change itself still unknown for ‘best’ landscape management• biodiversity accounting, unlike C accounting, still in infancy Bradshaw et al. 2013 Biol Conserv In press
  15. 15. • David M. J. S. Bowman • Beverley K. Henry• Nick R. Bond • Leigh P. Hunt• Brett P. Murphy • Diana O. Fisher• Andrew D. Moore • David Hunter• Damien A. Fordham • Christopher N. Johnson• Richard Thackway • David A. Keith• Michael J. Lawes • Edward C. Lefroy Corey Bradshaw• Hamish McCallum • Trent D. Penman corey.bradshaw@adelaide.edu.au ConservationBytes.com• Stephen D. Gregory • Wayne Meyer• Ram C. Dalal • James R. Thomson• Matthias M. Boer • Craig M. Thornton• A. Jasmyn J. Lynch • Jeremy VanDerWal• Ross A. Bradstock • Dick Williams• Barry W. Brook • Lucy Keniger • Alison Specht

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