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Together, these actions provide two integrated initiatives to reduce greenhouse emissions for the Land Management sector. It is in the long-term interest of the Land Management sector that it investigates and implements effective practices to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and improve the amount of carbon it sequesters. Carbon sinks offer great potential for the Land Management sector to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse emissions.

Tables of potential carbon sequestration and emission reduction in the land management sector are included in the appendices. So, unlike other sectors, the majority of greenhouse gas emissions from the Land Management sector are not carbon dioxide, but methane and nitrous oxide. Therefore, the land management sector contributes 22 percent of the total greenhouse gas from nitrous oxide.

Nitrous oxide emissions from the land management sector accounted for in the NGGI come from fertilizers, soil, animal excreta, savanna burning, agricultural residue burning and fuel combustion.

Figure 2. Flows of the global carbon cycle.  The dotted line indicates those processes captured by the Land Management sector
Figure 2. Flows of the global carbon cycle. The dotted line indicates those processes captured by the Land Management sector

The National Greenhouse Gas Inventory

What is included in the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory agriculture sector?

Carbon dioxide emissions are not counted in agriculture as the international inventory methodology assumes that there is a net balance between uptake and emissions in crops and pastures, as well as for livestock. For example, with the burning of waste and savannas, methane and nitrous oxide emissions are estimated, but not carbon dioxide. The assumption is that the hated carbon dioxide will be released and taken up in the new crops and reproduced in the pastures.

Emissions from fuel use are considered to be relatively minor compared to other agricultural emissions. Hence, the significant reduction in fuel use in WA that accompanies reduced tillage does not appear to have greatly contributed to reducing farm greenhouse gas emissions. The Ministry of Agriculture has compiled the following graph (Figure 5) which shows the distribution of emissions from the various agricultural activities.

The graph shows that greenhouse gas emissions are mainly from internal fermentation and savanna burning. Sources of Western Australian agricultural gas (non-CO2) emissions as estimated by the Department of Agriculture for 1999. Source Department of Agriculture, Western Australia.). The 1999 savannah burning emissions, sourced from the NGGI, account for 38 per cent of WA agriculture sector emissions.

Areas burned (as of 1997) are measured using satellite images and appear to greatly exceed previous estimates by fire experts. Should earlier figures be revised after studying satellite images, estimates for savanna fire emissions would show further significant increases. The average fuel load used in the inventory for WA, 7.7 tonnes of dry matter per hectare, is notably higher than that used for the Northern Territory and Queensland (5.8 and . . 3.0 tonnes per hectare respectively) and is therefore open to serious questioning.

Figure 5. Sources of emissions from Western Australian agriculture (non-CO 2 ) gases as estimated by the Department of Agriculture for 1999
Figure 5. Sources of emissions from Western Australian agriculture (non-CO 2 ) gases as estimated by the Department of Agriculture for 1999

Limitations of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory


  • Carbon sinks
    • Certainty of sink options
    • Possible sink options for Western Australia
    • Carbon sink risks
  • Emissions reduction
    • Methane
    • Nitrous oxide
    • Carbon dioxide
  • Climate change
  • Opportunities
    • Bioenergy

The strategies will form a framework for most natural resource management activities in the regions. In addition to afforestation and reforestation, a limited range of other carbon sink activities are included in Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol. Land management practices associated with grazing and cropping, such as stubble retention, minimum tillage and reduced stocking, have the potential to increase soil carbon levels.

An increase in soil carbon levels has been identified as a potential carbon sink. Many species have been identified as commercial tree crops, but they are mostly concentrated in the southwest of the country. In order to decide where to invest, future research will need to consider the sink's potential for carbon sequestration and compare the costs of sink activities to those already taking place on the land.

There is also limited work underway on the use of feed additives for the intensive industries and finding other ways to reduce ruminant methane emissions. There are also promising developments in controlled release and stabilized fertilizers which may have potential in the Land Management sector. But carbon dioxide emissions are included in the land use change and forestry sector with 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from land clearing.

Projected changes in the average number of days above 35oC in Perth and days below 0oC at Wandering for 2030 and 2070. The projected scenario must be viewed in light of the significant climate change that has occurred over the past three decades in WA. There is likely to be a major problem with water supplies being affected by changes in the frequency and duration of runoff events.

Likewise, the number of wet winters (defined as decile 8 or above) has more than halved in the past 25-year period. But there are current options related to the greenhouse issue, and others may emerge in the future.

Table 1. Proj ected changes in the average number of days over 35 o C at Perth, and of days below  0 o C at  Wandering  for 2030 and  2070
Table 1. Proj ected changes in the average number of days over 35 o C at Perth, and of days below 0 o C at Wandering for 2030 and 2070


  • Expanding article 3.3 plantations as carbon sinks
  • Determining the potential of article 3.4 sinks
  • Promote appropriate article 3.4 sinks
  • Assess how the ‘Carbon Bank’ initiative could provide the Land Management sector with a major source of investment

The emphasis was on supplying the timber market in a sustainable manner with wood for plantations. Nevertheless, we hope that with the establishment of a carbon market, the plantation wood industry can be further expanded. Increasing plantation area has potential benefits including reduced salinity risk, improved water quality, increased farm profitability and the development of a diverse industrial base for regional communities.

Although in some limited areas there is the possible disadvantage of reduced catchment water yield reducing freshwater availability. Encouraging strategic establishment of plantations will provide benefits to farmers as well as managing the potential social issues associated with large areas of plantation. In order to maximize the potential environmental benefits that the carbon market can deliver, it will be a priority to determine which other potential sinks will be able to store carbon in a way that is long-term and not expensive.

The estimates placed next to the sinks are best estimates, but are expected to serve as a guide to determine which sinks require further study and investment to determine their feasibility as sinks in the CO2 market. The establishment of Article 3.4 drains on the CO2 market will require research to determine the length, measurement and safety of sequestration. However, for most of the 3.4 sinks, such as saltbush pastures, soil carbon sequestration and rangeland vegetation, there has not been a need to focus closely on carbon sequestration, as until now there has been no Australian market for the biomass that is stored in these sinks.

The benefits of including these sinks in the carbon market include: leading best management practices; financial renewal of farmers for the implementation of best management practices; areas of restored and reforested shrubland grew and grew. After determining the potential of Article 3.4 sinks, a comprehensive cost analysis should be undertaken, including the benefits of different sink systems in different locations. The result will be information for the community of the state regarding their options regarding setting up the sinks themselves.

  • Encouraging the development of bioenergy industries
  • Review the current methodology for savanna burning
  • Develop and promote methods to decrease methane emissions from ruminants
  • Continue involvement in current research determining baseline figures for emission levels from agricultural
  • Improve knowledge of climate change impacts on Western Australia through climate science and agricultural systems
  • Extract from Article 3 in the Kyoto Protocol
  • Scoping of sink potential for terrestrial sinks
  • Scoping of sink potential for terrestrial sinks continued (page 2 of 2)
  • Supporting information for the Western Australian Greenhouse Strategy – Contribution of Western Australia’s
  • Scoping of emission reduction potential for terrestrial sources
  • Scoping of emission reduction potential for terrestrial sources continued (page 2 of 3)
  • Scoping of emission reduction potential for terrestrial sources continued (page 3 of 3)

Through an initiative like the 'Carbon Bank', the state government can collect revenue as payment for setting up sinks. While most of the greenhouse gases produced come from the use of fossil fuels as an energy source, the state has great potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging bioenergy industries. This is because the carbon dioxide released is considered equal to the carbon dioxide sequestered in the plant.

Ruminants account for 1 in every 7 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia and almost 40 per cent of Western Australia's agricultural sector emissions. National emissions could be greatly reduced by reducing ruminant emissions. To ensure that this goal is met, the Department of Agriculture must take the lead in promoting anti-methanogenic technology and management practices. Because there is so much uncertainty about where emissions come from and the extent of those emissions, particularly with regard to nitrous oxide, it is in the country's interest to remain involved in research aimed at clarifying the many questions surrounding greenhouses.

By deepening the understanding of emission sources and the impacts of climate change on the land management sector, the information can be used in developing frameworks for good agricultural practice. Increasing knowledge about baselines allows appropriate and informed decisions to be made about which practices lead to lower emissions. Developing a 'Carbon Bank' initiative whereby wells are recognized as a tradable well under Article 3.4, at least at the state level, and expanding existing plantations has the potential to achieve natural resource outcomes.

Before the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Protocol, each Party included in Annex I shall provide, for consideration by the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice, data to determine its carbon footprint . stocks in 1990 and to enable an assessment of its changes in carbon stocks in subsequent years. The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Protocol shall, at its first session or as soon as possible thereafter, decide on the modalities, rules and guidelines for how and what, additional activities caused by man-made changes in greenhouse gas emissions by source and removals by sinks in agricultural land and land use change and forestry categories shall be added to or subtracted from the amounts assigned to the Parties included in Annex I, taking given the uncertainties. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, advice provided by the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice in accordance with Article 5 and decisions of the Conference of the Parties.

It assumes the conditions of the short rotation of plantations set out in the Marrakesh Agreement (i.e. "For the first target period, the debits resulting from felling in the first target period after afforestation and reforestation from 1990 must not be greater than the credits calculated on this unit of land" ). The numbers on what is eaten will be used in NGGI and for pasture manipulation.


Figure 2. Flows of the global carbon cycle.  The dotted line indicates those processes captured by the Land Management sector
Figure 3. Nitrogen transformation in plants, soil and w ater (black arrow s are the outflows, grey arrow s are the inflows)
Figure 4. Greenhouse gas emissions by sector in 1990 and 1999 (Australian Greenhouse Office, 2001)
Figure 5. Sources of emissions from Western Australian agriculture (non-CO 2 ) gases as estimated by the Department of Agriculture for 1999


Related documents

Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4 Western Australia, Series 4 Volume 4 Number 4 April, 1963 Article 10