Carbon farming for resilient rangelands: people, paddocks and policy

14 September 2020

Carbon farming is a new land use option over extensive areas of the Australian rangelands. This land use change has been promoted by government incentives to mitigate climate change, with most of Australia’s land sector abatement to date being delivered in rangelands. Aside from these mitigation benefits, carbon farming has also demonstrated potential co-benefits that enhance socio-ecological resilience by diversifying land uses and income streams, providing opportunities for sustainable land management to enhance soil and vegetation and creating opportunities for self-organisation and collaboration. However, factors such as policy uncertainty, perceived loss of future land use flexibility and the potential for carbon farming eligibility to create social divisions may negatively affect resilience. In this paper we weigh up these risks, opportunities and co-benefits and propose indicators for measuring the impact of carbon farming on the resilience of rangeland systems. A set of land policy principles for enhancing resilience through carbon farming are also identified.