The consideration of carbon mitigation options in this Plan has been made with the objective of enhancing ecological processes, for example: climatic processes, primary productivity, hydrological processes, formation of biophysical habitats, interactions between species, movements of organisms and natural disturbance regime. It will also be important to understand and minimise any potential negative consequences, such as increased fire risk and reduced water yield.
Mitigation options within this Plan will largely be focussed on options to sequester carbon (as opposed to options that aim to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases). With respect to carbon sequestration there is a limited suite of actions that are suitable for the respective natural asset types.
While a range of different options are possible for increasing carbon stocks in soil, terrestrial and aquatic environments have been outlined above, four have been assessed as particularly relevant to the priority assets in the East Gippsland RCS. These are:
- Grazing system change – to increase soil carbon in broad-acre beef and sheep production systems as a result of implementing management actions such as flexible grazing techniques based on the pasture and animal requirements that maintain productivity and improve groundcover.
- Environmental plantings – to increase terrestrial carbon stocks through revegetation, especially along waterways, and to buffer and connect high value remnant vegetation.
- Human induced natural regeneration – to increase carbon stocks associated with existing native habitat or in areas suitable for land use change such as marginally productive or degraded areas.
Blue carbon sequestration through the conservation and restoration of freshwater and estuarine ecosystems such as areas of wetland, saltmarsh, mangroves and seagrass.
Table 1 (on the 'Map' tab above) outlines the potential for implementation of four carbon sequestration options across the priority asset areas. It is important to note that this analysis is not a measure of the amount of carbon sequestered, but rather a rating of the applicability of the options.
In addition to a broad assessment of the appropriateness and potential of these options, a preliminary assessment of the technical feasibility, likelihood of adoption, socio-political risk and potential for adverse impacts has been made for each asset.