Land Use Forestry and Agricultural Plan

About the Land Use, Forestry and Agricultural Plan

The Zero Carbon Australia Land Use Forestry and Agricultural Plan is part of the Zero Carbon Australia Project (ZCA), an exciting initiative of Beyond Zero Emissions and the University of Melbourne's Melbourne Energy Institute and Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. The project will develop a road map for the transition to a decarbonised Australian economy on a ten year time scale.

The ZCA Project consists of six inter-related reports, each addressing a specific sector of the economy and source of emissions.

The complete set of ZCA reports to be produced are:

  • Report 1: The ZCA Stationary Energy Plan addresses the re-powering of Australia's stationary energy sector with zero emissions technology
  • Report 2: The ZCA Buildings Plan considers measures to improve energy efficiency, and hence reduce the demand for stationary energy
  • Report 3: The ZCA Transport Plan is concerned with powering private and public transportation with renewable electricity
  • Report 4: The ZCA Industrial Processes Plan addresses measures to reduce emissions from industry
  • Report 5: The ZCA Land Use, Forestry & Agriculture Plan considers changes to agriculture, forestry and other land use practices to minimise emissions.
  • Report 6: The ZCA Plan for Replacing Coal Export Revenue focuses on Australia's large fossil fuel exports.


The Aim of the Plan

National inventory figures report that around 20% of Australia's emissions are from land use change, forestry and agriculture, but this figure could be far higher depending on the detail of accounting methods used. Most greenhouse emissions however come from ruminant animals; the remainder from various sources including land clearing, savanna burning and destructive logging of native forests.

The Land Use Plan will analyse 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 plan will provide a comprehensive assessment of how Australia can manage its productive capacity, ecological heritage and ecosystems services for the future.


The Project

The ZCA Land Use, Forestry & Agriculture Plan 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. Dr Chris Taylor, Andrew Longmire and Gerry Wedderburn-Bisshop have led the project.

With the help of three reliable volunteers we’ve now modeled agricultural emissions, landscape carbon sequestration potential and the value of agricultural production for the whole continent, using accepted data and models.

We have produced one article for peer review based on our modeling, and the LUP report methodology is heavily based on this paper; after its publication, our thinking and methods will have the legitimacy of peer review. We have also produced number of papers for peer review, offering consideration of agricultural emissions and their contribution to national emissions inventories. Further relevant work explores links between native forest logging and bushfire intensity, as well as the financial position of state government forestry agencies, building a case for the cessation of destructive logging.

The Land Use, Forestry & Agriculture Plan is due to be completed in 2014.