Here’s a surprise for you. It’s possible that sheep and beef farms could already be net carbon neutral in NZ. According to a new report, sheep and beef farms hold 17% of NZ’s forests – or more technically 17% of NZ’s woody vegetation. On the most generous estimates, that vegetation could be sequestering more GHGs than what all our dry-stock herds are emitting. Even at the least generous estimate the gap is small, meaning an increase in planting or a small decrease in stock numbers could result in a net zero or, even better, net-positive position. That’s great news. Or is it? The study, while conducted by AUT was funded by the farming body Beef & Lamb – and I guess they would say that. Even if it is true, it says nothing about the bigger bovine in the room, dairy industry, of which many of those sheep and beef farms have been converted into. Plus there’s still the issues of nitrate run off, winter grazing, excess water use and so on.
Anyway, with me to discuss the study and no doubt slap me for being so negative was one of the report’s authors Dr Bradley Case, Senior Lecturer in the Applied Ecology Department at AUT. I was joined too by Dr David Hall, also of AUT, who has co-authored a related report on the carbon sequestration potential of our native forests, which we will discuss very soon. Listeners may be familiar with David’s previous star appearances on this show so welcome back David and welcome Brad.
Hear the Podcast Here:
You can read the Beef and Lamb report here
And the Aotearoa Circle Report here