What we are aiming to do
Given the expected increase in private and public conservation land in achievement of New Zealand’s Kyoto commitments there is a need for robust measurements of carbon sequestration in regenerating shrubland. Growth and carbon sequestration rates of most shrubs and native tree species are unknown, as are the effects of species change throughout successions on total carbon stocks, or the relationships between carbon and biodiversity. To properly estimate the effects requires an understanding of total carbon accounting on all components of the system including soils and herbivore impacts. Suitable methods for measuring carbon sequestration and biodiversity change are being developed.
What we will investigate and how
We will measure the changes in carbon sequestration and biodiversity through various common shrubland successions and transitions from shrubland to forest. The work will investigate total carbon stock changes by remeasurement and refinement of existing shrublands and forests at various stages of succession.
Initial investigations have been carried out in tauhinu (Ozothamnus leptophyllus) shrubland successions in Marlborough that indicate considerable carbon sequestration can occur (Carswell et al. 2006). Other studies are under way for kanuka (Kunzea ericioides) forest in Canterbury, and a web-based tool has been developed to convert plot-based measurements to biomass carbon estimates.