Climate change

Emissions avoidance of soil carbon from lands undergoing practice change

Project code
AUD 100,000
Research program manager
Dr Robyn Johnston
Project leader
Dr Shu Kee Lam, University of Melbourne
JUN 2019
OCT 2020
Project status
Legally committed/Active
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This project aims to identify the potential of various management practices to decrease the immediate and rapid soil carbon loss during land clearing and for management activities for farming immediately following clearing

Indonesia has 10% of the world’s tropical rainforests and 36% of its tropical peatlands. Tropical peatlands are wet and swampy forested environments with soil that can hold up to twenty times more carbon than most other types of mineral soil.

With emissions from land contributing to around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, Indonesia has been identified as a key contributor to these emissions from agriculture and the conversion of carbon-rich forests to plantations and other uses.

For this reason, Indonesia will be used as a case study to demonstrate the significance and the environmental consequences of land clearing, whereas global data will be synthesised quantitively to evaluate the effectiveness of various management practices in reducing carbon loss from land use change.

Expected project outcomes

  • Understanding and documenting the factors that affect the immediate rapid release of soil carbon loss from systems undergoing land use change from native vegetation to production agriculture in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Identifying potential management options that prevent or reduce this rapid initial loss of soil carbon.
  • Providing ACIAR and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries with recommendations to develop their climate change programs in the Asia-Pacific region, especially addressing emissions avoidance.
  • Establishing and promoting collaboration between Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia on reducing the rapid immediate loss of soil carbon following land use change in the Asia-Pacific region – as a launchpad to establishing effective change should this scoping study confirm apparent opportunities.
Key partners
University of Waikato, New Zealand
Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia