CCF 4.35% 12.0¢ carbon conscious limited

mallee models not the answer

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    Betting on just one tree species is very risky for these carbon plays, especially when you consider the EnVex Carbon Exchange that Macquarie has set up for Oz contains provisions for biodiversity credits. It may be legislated that plantations eligible for carbon contain multiple species ...

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    Tree farms sap crops: researcher

    10-12-2009
    National | Haidee Vandenberghe


    Researcher Rob Sudmeyer

    Farmers are being urged to think before they turn their properties over to tree farming.

    New research is showing that incorrect planting is stripping nutrients from cereal crops.

    Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) senior research scientist Rob Sudmeyer has been investigating the extent of competition in alley farming systems.

    Mr Sudmeyer said farmers entering into contracts with companies looking to sequester carbon and sell permits could be hurting their bottom line.

    Most sequestration companies require trees to be in situ for more than 100 years and only pay for the land the trees are planted on plus 2m either side.

    Research carried out by DAFWA and the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) discovered competition from trees on crops extended far beyond 2m.

    "What we're finding are varying amounts of competition depending on how you long you grow them for and how often you harvest them," Mr Sudmeyer said.

    "I worked it out for a 20m avenue of trees and it varies according to the vigour of the trees.

    "There is more competition in drier years or drier areas (but) you could expect a 40 per cent yield reduction within 20m of the trees.

    "That adds up over 100 years ... and a farmer isn't going to be compensated for that."

    Mr Sudmeyer said the fledgling sequestration industry still needed to do more research with farming systems. "There are some issues that need to be worked through about competition and how it's managed and paid for by those companies," he said. "Ultimately it will depend on the prices that people will pay for carbon and for power.

    "If you're at a site where you're growing a lot of tree biomass and you're paid well for it, then there's a good chance you'll get your money back. It's a bit of an unknown yet."

    Mr Sudmeyer said that research and economic modelling would be continuing but in the meantime farmers should consider the pros and cons before entering contracts.

    "There could be really good benefits where you've got erosion-prone soils but otherwise you're going to have to really think hard about how those trees are going to fit into farming systems in the future," he said.

    "It's going to vary with farmer to farmer and for farmers there are a lot of things to think about."

    http://www.countryman.com.au/article/2693.html
 
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