Kangaroo farming and the carbon economy

By , January 11, 2010 5:05 pm

AWS is working with a Kangaroo Management Cooperative of pastoralists and kangaroo harvesters in central Queensland.  We are examining if lower dependence on cattle as meat producers can reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. Lowering total grazing pressure will also reduce water consumption and can drought proof properties.

Ruminant livestock produce the GHG methane and so contribute to global warming and biodiversity reduction. Methane from the foregut of cattle and sheep constitutes 11% of Australia’s total GHG. Kangaroos, on the other hand, are non-ruminant forestomach fermenters that produce negligible amounts of methane.

AWS is considering offsets generated from emissions sources in Australia not counted toward Australia’s Kyoto Protocol target, where they meet eligibility criteria and use a methodology that has been approved under the National Carbon Offset Standard. The Standard is intended to ensure that consumers have confidence in the voluntary carbon offset market and the integrity of the carbon offset and carbon neutral products they purchase.

Income from carbon offsetting such emissions has the potential to improve financial viability of pastoral enterprises and ensure greater resilience in face of recurring droughts. It could establish alternative income streams. Plant growth of both trees, shrubs and native C4 grasses once lower stocking rates are established will sequester carbon in forest, rangeland vegetation and soil. Reducing grazing pressure will lead to reduced soil degradation, an increase in water quality and an increase in habitats and wildlife corridors. Biodiversity will increase, both in species abundance and the number of individuals in populations, particularly in highly important riparian environments.

AWS has prepared a Project Information Note as part of our analysis and development of the offset project for presentation to the carbon market.  Our objective is a robust and transparent audit model that provides confidence. Independent audit validates the eligibility and robustness of offset project methodologies, and the amount of emissions reductions offset projects achieve. More details on kangaroos, cattle and opportunities are also in the AWS paper on our publications page.

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