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Yoweragabbie field sampling adds to carbon knowledge

A substantial field campaign was recently undertaken aimed at understanding the distribution and concentration of sequestered organic carbon in the soils and vegetation of the Woodline land system.

From mid-August to early-September 2013, an enthusiastic and competent team of 12 people undertook extensive sampling and data gathering at Yoweragabbie Station, close to Mt Magnet township in the Murchison region of WA approximately 330 km east of Geraldton.

The work is funded by Royalties for Regions, as part of the Carbon Awareness Programme jointly managed by Rangelands NRM and the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA).

Dr Peter Russell, Senior Rangeland Scientist at Rangelands NRM said the work focussed on severely degraded areas that are designated for rehabilitation by camel pitting and other techniques by Jorgen Jensen, Yoweragabbie manager, later this year.

The Woodline land system consists of hardpan and loam soil wash plains supporting acacia, mainly mulga, shrublands and woodlands.

“Three separate areas were surveyed with over 150 soil cores and 600 biomass samples taken, along with numerous measurements and Landscape Function Analysis at each of 31 sample plots temporarily set up for this work,” Dr Russell said.

Laboratory analysis of the samples is in progress.

In addition, a field day was held at the end of the survey at which attending pastoralists learnt more about how carbon is sampled and the eventual use of the information that the Carbon Awareness Program is generating.

“The programme aims to increase the awareness of the opportunities, benefits and risks for pastoralists and other land managers/custodians in the Western Australian rangelands who are considering participation in carbon farming activities,” Dr Russell said.

The work at Yoweragabbie builds on similar work undertaken at Yalleen (2011), Muggon (2012), and Meka (2013) stations, and on the large study undertaken by DAFWA in 2009-10 (Carbon Capture Project) in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions.

Caption: Mike Cully (left) and Adrian Williams weighing biomass (tree canopy) at Yoweragabbie; this material will be analysed for moisture, nitrogen and carbon content (©P Russell)