The science behind our projects

What is biosequestration?

Biosequestration is a proven natural process based on the capacity of plants to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Future Carbon plantings use native trees and shrubs, which are long-term, low risk and have the ability to recover from droughts, fire and floods.

The carbon cycle

All plants eventually die. Most of the carbon stored in fallen timber and deep roots is eventually released by termites, beetles, and fungi that slowly consume dead plant material. However, Future Carbon plantings or ‘carbon sinks‘ are self-replacing. Before these plantings die, they set seed and germinate or re-sprout from roots. Greening Australia’s research has shown that Future Carbon plantings even recover from intense wildfires.

Science: in progress

Greening Australia, continually improves the planning, establishment and long-term management of its plantings.

Establishment

Greening Australia works with the University of Western Australia to identify the soil moisture and temperature (fine-scale soil-climate processes) that help or hinder native plant germination and establishment. Greening Australia is a partner in the Cooperative Research Centre for Polymers investigating the use of solar degradable plastic films to improve the diversity and reliability of direct seeding. It supports post graduate students in quantifying the environmental and social benefits of plantings for carbon capture.

Management and Monitoring

Greening Australia collaborates with CSIRO to develop more efficient and accurate ways to measure and model rates of carbon capture in these plantings.

Greening Australia has a long term partnership with the University of Tasmania. Together we undertake applied research into the establishment of carbon capture plantings, the impact of genetics and provenance in a changing climate, carbon yields and the use of biodiversity plantings by bird and mammal species.

Greening Australia, through its Future Carbon program, monitors each of the three biodiversity characteristics:

  • function – what species do
  • structure – how species are arranged; and
  • composition – the species and their genetics found at a site.

We use CSIRO’s Landscape Function Analysis field methodology to monitor soil function.

  • Water infiltration;
  • soil surface stability; and
  • nutrient cycling.

At permanent plots we monitor the structure of our plantings including plant height and distance between plants. Flora and fauna surveys are conducted to determine the species composition of our sites and how they change through time in comparison to nearby remnant woodlands.