Earning carbon credits from savanna fire management

12 December 2018

Hub research led by Dr Garry Cook of CSIRO will inform updates to the method used by the federal government to calculate carbon credits that could benefit land owners and managers in northern Australia’s savanna regions. This research has shown that the landscape may store significant amounts of carbon through the accumulation of standing dead trees as well as the on-ground woody debris currently included in the method. Projects that appropriately manage fire to maintain this carbon in the landscape may be eligible for carbon credits. This research project uses on-ground surveys of tree stand structure as well as hi-tech LiDAR methods to accurately measure and monitor the amount and distribution of carbon stored in wood across our northern savannas. Although the project has focussed on the low-rainfall (600–1000 mm) savannas, the work will also be applicable to high-rainfall savannas.

cool burn, photo Jane Thomas.

Cool, early-season burns allow dead trees and logs to remain on the landscape, storing carbon and potentially earning carbon credits for land owners and managers, photo Jane Thomas.

low rainfall savanna map

The project focussed on low-rainfall (600–1000mm/yr) savanna areas across northern Australia but is also applicable to high-rainfall areas.




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