Rangelands Carbon is a $6.5million collaboration between Food Agility CRC, the Australian Agricultural Company (AACo), CiboLabs, Carbon Link, FLINTpro, Federation University, University of Technology Sydney, and Charles Sturt University. This project is working to develop an accurate and affordable way to estimate carbon in Australian Rangelands landscapes
This report by Dr Francisco Ascui (FedUni) aims to assess potential nature-related risks to beef producers associated with increasing carbon sequestration and storage in Australian rangelands soils. Risk is defined as the “effect of uncertainty on objectives”, which is typically interpreted with an emphasis on possible exposure to unfavourable consequences.
Identified in the report are eight key dependency risk areas. All but two of these were assessed as presenting a potentially high or very high risk to carbon sequestration, storage, or both. However, the risk areas differ in terms of their magnitude and likelihood, as well as the level of confidence in the evidence. Temperature is judged to be the highest risk factor, with the highest confidence. Increases in temperature due to climate change are highly likely to cause soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks to decline over time.
Water availability is the second most important risk factor in terms of its influence on SOC stocks, but future changes in rainfall across northern Australia due to climate change are highly uncertain, with increases or reductions both being possible. Extreme weather, soil erosion, pasture composition and pests and diseases are risks characterised by high uncertainty about the magnitude (and even the sign) of their influence on SOC. There is also high uncertainty about the likelihood of adverse changes, except for extreme weather events, where there is high confidence in predictions of increased intensity of extreme daily rainfall events across northern Australia.
Disclaimer: It should be noted that the results of this nature-related risk assessment are necessarily generic and only likely to be broadly applicable across Australian rangelands. Individual managers of rangelands soil carbon will need to build on this generic assessment to develop their own more detailed risk assessments, taking into account location-specific information. It is also acknowledged that a limitation of the methodology used in this risk assessment is that each risk has been considered separately, and interactions between risk areas may produce different outcomes. The assessment also does not consider the effect of risk mitigation actions, beyond an assumption of continuation of standard practices.