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Bioeconomic modelling of woody regrowth carbon offset options in productive grazing systems

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Gowen, R. and Bray, S. G. (2016) Bioeconomic modelling of woody regrowth carbon offset options in productive grazing systems. The Rangeland Journal, 38 (3). p. 307. ISSN 1036-9872

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RJ15084


Agricultural land has been identified as a potential source of greenhouse gas emissions offsets through biosequestration in vegetation and soil. In the extensive grazing land of Australia, landholders may participate in the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund and create offsets by reducing woody vegetation clearing and allowing native woody plant regrowth to grow. This study used bioeconomic modelling to evaluate the trade-offs between an existing central Queensland grazing operation, which has been using repeated tree clearing to maintain pasture growth, and an alternative carbon and grazing enterprise in which tree clearing is reduced and the additional carbon sequestered in trees is sold. The results showed that ceasing clearing in favour of producing offsets produces a higher net present value over 20 years than the existing cattle enterprise at carbon prices, which are close to current (2015) market levels (~$13 t–1 CO2-e). However, by modifying key variables, relative profitability did change. Sensitivity analysis evaluated key variables, which determine the relative profitability of carbon and cattle. In order of importance these were: the carbon price, the gross margin of cattle production, the severity of the tree–grass relationship, the area of regrowth retained, the age of regrowth at the start of the project, and to a lesser extent the cost of carbon project administration, compliance and monitoring. Based on the analysis, retaining regrowth to generate carbon income may be worthwhile for cattle producers in Australia, but careful consideration needs to be given to the opportunity cost of reduced cattle income.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Keywords:brigalow, beef production, climate change mitigation, greenhouse gas emissions, options modelling, sequestration.
Subjects:Science > Statistics > Statistical data analysis
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Live Archive:17 Aug 2016 03:57
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:50

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