By Simon Talbot – General Manager, Tasmania Forestry Hub
It’s high time Tasmania acknowledges the elephant in the room – our state is facing a significant and very real carbon problem.
Tasmania’s population growth, coupled with rapid escalation in agriculture could actually see the state become a net emitter of carbon and indeed move backward from its ‘net carbon negative’ status.
The graph below depicts the Tasmanian Government’s carbon accounts divided up by sector. It clearly shows that in 2019 the state was minus 1.68 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent.
However, when examining this alongside the Agrivision 2050 Plan and the government’s aspiration to double the size of the agrifood sector by 2050, this poses a significant challenge to the state’s carbon negative status.
In fact, taking into account farm productivity and better use of renewables, agriculture could still be a net emitter of more than four megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050.
And to make matters worse there is a real risk that many hectare’s of former MIS plantations will be converted back to agriculture, thus further tipping the accounts.
So, what’s the solution?
Some look to hydropower or green hydrogen as the silver bullet, however it’s actually forestry that can offset this agricultural growth.
We know our farmers are some of the most ingenious and productive on the planet and we need to acknowledge that they will need support in carbon balancing their operations. Integrated farm forestry and carbon soil sequestering are logical solutions and will in fact enhance productivity and provide a diversified revenue stream across most Tasmanian farms.
But ultimately it will be consumers who drive the market. We need to better partner with consumers to help them understand that actively managed 15–25-year-old forests are the best carbon sequesters and in turn consumers need to be willing to pay premiums for carbon neutral food and fibre grown on Tasmanian farms.
The good news is that its already happening.
Tasmanian farmers and the Federal and State Governments are providing transition support through programs and initiatives. To find out more, check out: