Assessing carbon sequestration in saltbush plantations

5 April 2024

Project Lead: Adrian Fisher, University of NSW

Project Partners: DCCEEW, Grazing Management Systems (GMS)

The project will examine plantations of native old-man saltbush (Atriplex nummularia) as a carbon sequestration frontier. Saltbush has been planted in areas of NSW that are degraded by dryland salinity to restore vegetation cover, and increase sheep grazing productivity. Plantations have been shown to improve biodiversity and can sequester carbon by 2.2-8.3 Mg per hectare. Australian carbon credit schemes that are currently restricted to the use of tree plantings could be expanded to include old-man saltbush if questions regarding saltbush biomass quantity and possible extent are answered. The project will bring together university, government, and industry to develop novel remote sensing technology to answer key questions about the biomass quantity and possible extent of saltbush. We will assess historical plantings using measurements, drone data, and satellite data, to develop biomass models, and create maps of persistent bare ground caused by dryland salinity to determine the extent of future plantings.

Project Timeline: October 2024 – September 2025