China and Australia team up to tackle climate change

October 3, 2012

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Finding ways to reduce the impact of global climate change through reforestation is the focus of a new partnership between Australia and China.

Murdoch University is leading an Australia-China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement (ACACA) delegation to China in October to evaluate new carbon reforestation programs underway in China, and to explore opportunities for scientists in the two countries to work together.

Professor Bernard Dell who has over 20 years experience in forestry in both countries will lead the delegation.

The delegation also includes Professor Richard Harper, who has worked extensively on carbon mitigation using forests and soils.

The Murdoch group will be joined by Mr John Ruprecht, an Executive Director with the WA Department of Agriculture and Food, and Adjunct Professor Chris Mitchell from CO2 Group, a carbon trading specialist from Australia’s largest developer of reforestation-based carbon projects.

The group will spend 10 days touring facilities and forest sites in Beijing, Shaanxi and Guangdong provinces.

Professor Dell said the trip is a journey of discovery for both nations.

“China has plans to increase the national forest-cover area to 40 million hectares by establishing new forest plantations over an area twice as large as the WA Wheatbelt,” said Professor Dell said.

“Meanwhile, reforestation is an important component of the recently legislated Carbon Farming Initiative in Australia.”

“Some of these plantations grow in environments that are very similar to Western Australia, with salinity issues and low rainfall, and so we have the opportunity to share experiences gained in two regions on the co-benefits and trade-offs from carbon farming.”

The Australian team hope this trip will lead to opportunities for Australia and China to collaborate on the development of carbon plantations and broad-scale land use changes.

“Western Australia is dealing with a range of water management issues and we hope that this experience can be useful to help solve some of the potential water resource challenges of these plantations in China,” said Professor Harper.

“There are likely to be lots of opportunities for collaboration as carbon trading becomes established and we were searching for new technologies and products that could be imported to support Australia’s carbon reforestation program as well as ways that Australia’s expertise in dryland forest management could help China.”

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