Zero Carbon Australia Land Use: Agriculture and Forestry

Land Use: Agriculture and Forestry (16Mb Download)

A Discussion Paper

Emissions in the agriculture and forestry sectors in Australia are high and growing.

The UNFCCC National Inventory Report suggests that sources of land use emissions, such as land clearing for agriculture and enteric (intestinal) fermentation from digestive processes in livestock, contribute 15% of national emissions. 

Australia’s land use sector is in a unique position to mitigate (reduce) climate impacts and take a leading role in addressing climate change.

Agriculture and forestry are the only sectors of the Australian economy that can draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by sequestering it in growing plants and in the soil.

The agriculture and forestry sectors can mitigate climate impacts on the land, bringing prosperity to rural areas in the process. The ZCA Land Use report explores how this can be done.

Report co-author  Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop interview

Land Use Report Front Cover

The ZCA Land Use Report outlines a range of measures that can substantially reduce emissions and provide opportunities for farmers in building resilience to the impacts of climate change. These measures encompass both agriculture and forestry and address emissions at the scale required to prevent catastrophic climate change.

 The Land Use Report analyses the suite of land use practices in Australia for their function as a source of greenhouse emissions, the potential of the landscape to draw down atmospheric CO2, and the likely impact of changes to land use patterns on local economies. The report provides a comprehensive assessment of how Australia can manage its productive capacity, ecological heritage and ecosystems services for the future.

The ZCA Land Use report is can be ordered via our online shop. It is also available for free download.

Project Participants

The Land Use project has been led by researchers Andrew Longmire, Dr Chris Taylor and Gerry Wedderburn-Bisshop. Volunteers have assisted with modeling agricultural emissions, landscape carbon sequestration potential and the value of agricultural production for the whole continent, using peer-reviewed methodologies.

The Land Use Report is a joint project between Beyond Zero Emissions and The University of Melbourne's Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI). The project was made possible by the generous support of a private donor and significant additional assistance from MSSI.


Zero Carbon Australia

The Zero Carbon Australia series is known for its expert sector-by-sector emissions analysis, fully costed projections and shift metrics scaled to 10 year zero and net zero transitions.

In partnership with the University of Melbourne’s Energy Institute, The University of Melbourne's Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI), BZE has published the following plans:

    Stationary Energy Plan, 2010 - Stationary Energy Plan (8.09Mb download) A fully costed transition plan for getting Australia to zero emissions in ten years using commercially available technology. 

    Buildings Plan 2013 -   Buildings Plan (32Mb download) Zero carbon commercial and residential buildings

    Transport Plan, 2014 - Stage 1 High Speed Rail transport with High Speed Rail, High Speed Rail report  (13.8Mb download - Part 1 of Transport Plan, Part 2 The Zero Carbon Australia Electric Vehicle Plan, launches in Feb/March 2016)

    LandUse 2014 -  Land Use: Agriculture and Forestry  (16Mb download) Land use is key for carbon storage, once emissions are reduced using existing technologies.

    Industrial processes (in progress - contact us please if this is your area of expertise or if you would like to help fund this project) 

    Renewable Energy Superpower  (3Mb download) This report looks at Australia's renewable resource close to the grid and finds it is vast, and that Australia should not delay plans to replace existing coal exports.

     Zero Carbon Australia Overview (300kb)  

BZE's vision is ambitious and yet our research shows it is achievable - join us to create the future.

We are involved in the following activities:

  • research
  • education
  • transition planning
  • corporate education
  • network building
  • solutions development

We accept the findings of the most current science, which shows that we have already allowed climate change to go too far, and must act immediately to reduce our levels of greenhouse gas emissions to zero and below.