Australia’s CRC changes calculations for greenhouse emissions


Embedded in Australian accounts: The AGO has utilised these
findings in the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, adopting new factors
which lower the estimates of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. “The
results have attracted interest nationally and internationally with
presentations in Japan and the USA being supported by the research
community, the waste and forestry sectors, and accounting bodies,” said
the 2005 annual report.

The wood not the trees: “This work established that ‘woody
thickening’, where plants in a landscape store more carbon as a result
of the increased presence of woody species, had occurred in a test site
in Queensland following the introduction of European land-management
practices. This work has been extended across the Burdekin catchment to
evaluate the extent of woody thickening and increased carbon storage.
Simultaneously, a separate project in NSW has found that the combined
effects of disturbance (such as by grazing and fire) and increases in
atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (one of the major drivers
of the enhanced greenhouse effect) could promote the invasion of
grasslands by woody plants”.

AGO’s use of results: The AGO used results from this research to:
• support the use of lower decomposition rates for wood products in
landfill in estimates for the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory
• calibrate a model providing estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and
carbon stored in wood and wood products for the National Carbon
Accounting System
• provide technical guidance to international agencies and support
Australia’s position in international negotiation on climate change.

States base accounts on CRC tools: The state agencies were
particularly interested in the ability to detect woody regrowth using
RADAR data calibrated with LIDAR, in conjunction with Queensland’s
existing satellite imagery program.

Results inserted in education curricula: Two major tools were made available on the web site during the past year:
• CASS (Carbon Accounting Simulation Software) – a simplified model of
terrestrial carbon dynamics designed for college and tertiary-level
• A modified version of the Range-ASSESS software. Range-ASSESS is a
map-based tool that allows the user to assess the impacts of various
grazing and other management scenarios on soil and biomass carbon

Trees grow 80 x faster after fire: Some of the curious findings of a CRC experiment were:
• snow gum tree seedlings growing in bare soil under ambient or
elevated CO2 were, respectively, nearly 50 or 80 times larger than
seedlings surrounded by grass; and
• more atmospheric CO2 is likely when phosphorus availability is
limited (as is typical in Australian soils). It was likely that
nitrogen inputs would constrain the ability of ecosystems to sequester
additional carbon to a greater extent than is currently recognised. The
consequence of this is that atmospheric CO2 concentrations may rise
more rapidly than expected. Australian soils generally contain low

Reference: Cooperative Research Centre For Greenhouse Accounting,
Annual Report, 2004-2005. GPO Box 475 Canberra, ACT 2601. Telephone: 61
2 6125 4020, Fax: 61 2 6125 5095, Email:

Cooperative Research Centre For Greenhouse Accounting , annual report, 2004-2005, 27/1/2006

Source: Erisk – 

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