Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Greenhouse gases & carbon sinks

Soil organic carbon stocks mapped at the landscape scale. Image - Leo Valette (MSc student), Carolyn Hedley & Pierre Roudier

Land use has a significant role in managing carbon sinks and greenhouse gas emissions. Image - Les Basher

National Outcome: Improved measurement and mitigation of greenhouse gases from the terrestrial biosphere

Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, New Zealand must produce an annual national greenhouse gas emissions inventory. This forms the basis for any financial liability New Zealand may have under the post-Kyoto agreement. Therefore reported emissions and removals need to be as accurate as possible. New Zealand has an obligation to decrease net emissions of greenhouse gases from terrestrial systems to below ‘business as usual’ levels. To achieve this (as reflected in our two Impacts), it is necessary to have: (1) a robust inventory of net emissions and carbon storage, and (2) effective mitigation options for reducing net emissions. Changes in emissions and carbon storage as a consequence of management, land use and global change can then be forecasted and appraised.

The science challenges are substantial, as are the policy and land management challenges. Collaborative partnerships between research groups, government agencies and the Primary Industries Sector are key to meeting these challenges and delivering the National Outcome.