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Does Saltbush Have Potential for Commercial Carbon Sequestration?

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Sustainable Agriculture

That is the question that we will be seeking to answer as part of a newly awarded Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program grant.

In partnership with Murdoch University, Facey Group and Corrigin Farm Improvement Group and several Wheatbelt farmers, we are thrilled to be announced as one of ten recipients in Round One of the State Government’s Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program. The pioneering Program supports WA's agriculture sector to respond to global market forces and adapt farming systems to incorporate carbon sequestration, while creating opportunities to participate in the carbon market and improve long term business viability.

About The Saltbush Potential Project

There is currently around 1 million hectares of saline and semi-saline land in the Western Australian Wheatbelt that has been taken out of production. There has been much research on saltbush but this has predominantly from the perspective of animal fodder. There is not, however, currently a methodology to evaluate the commercial carbon sequestration of saltbush plantings. Our joint project will explore its viability.

Measuring The Commercial Viability Of Saltbush

There have only been two formal studies on saltbush and it’s potential for carbon sequestration – both undertaken by our project partners, Murdoch University (Liu et al. 2017; Walden et al. 2017).

This project will adopt a multi-faceted approach to measuring the carbon sequestration of saltbush. In the first instance, we’ll be working with farmers who have existing stands of various ages. This will determine the carbon levels stored in aged plantings and provide a baseline analysis.

Secondly, we’ll work with landholders on planting new saltbush stands. In this phase, we will be measuring the quantity of carbon stored over a pre-determined timeframe.

These two aspects will then be used to make a case for an Emissions Reduction Fund methodology. This will unlock very large amounts of sequestration potential - a national estimate of sequestration potential is 4-13 Mt CO2-e/yr.

Keep An Eye Out For Round Two!

Round Two of the Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2022. Regional workshops for farmers and rural businesses will be held in the coming months to help future applicants get a better understanding of carbon farming opportunities and provide assistance in preparing submissions. Dates will be posted on the CF-LRP website soon.

Regional workshops for farmers and rural businesses to better understand carbon farming opportunities and prepare submissions for Round 2 of the Program will be held in coming months. The “How To Get Started” workshop dates will be posted on the CF-LRP website soon.

We would like to congratulate the other nine grant and ACCU Plus voucher recipients. There are some very exciting projects in the pipeline and we’ll be following their outcomes with great interest.

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