Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Conservation & carbon

Image - S Richardson

Conservation lands cover c. 33% of New Zealand and contain NZ’s biggest stock of forest carbon. However, relatively little is known about the management actions that enhance carbon storage or reduce carbon leakage. In addition, almost nothing is known about how the rate of carbon storage changes during indigenous forest successions.

What research is needed?

We need to know which management actions will most effectively increase carbon storage and safeguard existing carbon storage. We also need to know how rapidly carbon is stored in indigenous forest successions and if we could even design “high carbon” ecosystems while maintaining ecological integrity.

How will this information be used?

This information will be used to enable land managers to plan for “high carbon” ecosystems while maintaining ecological integrity such as biodiversity, water quality, erosion control etc. In addition, knowledge of how carbon storage changes with time allows more certainty in carbon markets and encourage more private-public sector partnerships on conservation lands. Current work involves quantifying current and potential carbon storage on conservation land, measuring the influence of coarse woody debris on total forest carbon storage, quantifying change in carbon storage in woody successions and quantification of the impacts of herbivores on ecosystem carbon stocks.


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