chapter  17
10 Pages

An Australian landscape- based approach: AFOLU mitigation for smallholders


It is not possible to avoid dangerous climate change without taking into account the natural and agricultural ecosystems of the planet (Trumper et al. 2009), a sector second only to the energy sector in its potential to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Each year, tropical forests draw down 15% of global emissions (Trumper et al. 2009), while deforestation and agricultural emissions are responsible for over 20% of global emissions (McKinsey & Company 2009). In Australia, the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector provides the largest abatement opportunity available, accounting for 25% of the country’s total emissions (Australian Government 2010). A recent assessment of GHG abatement potential through change in rural land-use demonstrates for the state of Queensland, the second largest state in Australia, that the overall attainable GHG abatement was 140 Mt CO2e/ yr, or 77% of that state’s emissions (Eady et al. 2009). By 2020 rural land use is projected to offer about 40% of the low-cost emissions reductions opportunity (ClimateWorks Australia 2010). Given the high contribution to total emissions, the AFOLU sector could potentially transform Australia’s mitigation effort and influence global mitigation effort (Garnaut 2008). At the same time, the right landscape actions, including improved farming practice, wetland restoration, and forest, grazing and cropland management, could also support landscape adaptation to the impacts of climate change (Verchot et al. 2007).