Title: Carbon Awareness Program
Overview: The Carbon Farming Awareness Project, funded by the Western Australian State Government’s Royalties for Regions (R4R) Program, commenced in 2012. It saw the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) and five of the WA Natural Resource Management (NRM) groups working with the community to show the profitability, productivity and environmental co-benefits of carbon farming as well as associated risks and to support communities to responsibly manage their natural resources.
The project established demonstration sites and ran public events including field days and workshops to showcase a diverse range of carbon farming activities. Rangelands NRM was also responsible for the key coordination tasks including contracting other groups, compiling reporting, undertaking
Outcomes: All NRM groups worked to fill research gaps and improve general understanding of the complex and dynamic federal carbon legislation and carbon market environment as well as build capacity at all levels and strengthen linkages between research and land managers.
Twenty-seven diverse demonstration sites were established across WA. In the rangelands, sites demonstrated just how much carbon is stored above- and below-ground. In the high rainfall regions of the south west, sites were established evaluating the benefits of adding compost to dairy farms for pasture growth rates and soil organic carbon, while another trial looked at the use of biochar as a carbon sequestration tool. In south coastal regions, soil organic carbon increases under biological farming techniques and reducing emissions from livestock with perennial grazing systems were key carbon farming activities. Across the central and northern Wheatbelt, on-farm examples of carbon farming looked at brown manuring crops, sandalwood plantations and forage shrub plantings for carbon storage.
Linking the work of the regional NRMs undoubtedly increased awareness of carbon farming among farmers across all of the NRM regions by taking advantage of existing partnerships and networks and leveraging value from the extensive extension programs and on-ground activities each region is delivering in partnership with growers, community groups, and the broader agricultural industry.
DAFWA also analysed and captured current and emerging information on carbon farming related policy, legislation and science, to identify carbon farming opportunities and associated risks. This information was captured in a series of factsheets, and was then delivered to land managers.
The Carbon Farming Awareness Project, funded by the Western Australian State Government’s Royalties for Regions (R4R) Program.
Carbon cross-regional collaboration [Case Study]
‘The success achieved with this system shows that the Regional NRM groups can deliver a coordinated statewide delivery of extension and can serve as a model for a future way of working.” Dr Henry Brockman, Project Manager Carbon Farming, DAFWA