Macadamia tree can reduce more greenhouse gases

October 22nd, 2008 - 12:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Oct 22 (IANS) Macadamia trees store more carbon than others and can be used to remove excess greenhouse gases from the earth’s atmosphere, according to a new research project. The study, led by Graham Jones, associate professor at Centre for Regional Climate Change Studies of Southern Cross University, found that macadamia trees were able to store four tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year, as against half a tonne emitted by the industry per hectare in the same period.

Across the industry, which consists of more than 900 growers who collectively farm 17,000 hectares in Queensland and northern New South Wales, this equates to around 68,000 tonnes of gross sequestration per year.

At $20 (Australian) per tonne this could be $1.36 million dollars per year to growers across the industry if they were able to claim it, according to a statement from Southern Cross University.

“This is a significant benefit in terms of carbon sequestration but it’s not recognised at the government and policy level,” Jones said. “This industry will be feeling the impact of increased energy prices, but at the moment horticulture is not included in the emissions trading scheme for 2010.”

The research was completed using 38 macadamia trees, each 23 years old, at Knockrow, supplied by Greg James at the Deenford macadamia farm near Ballina. The trees were measured, weighed and analysed for timber and carbon properties to determine the sequestration rate.

Jones said this research project had led to the development of a framework for measuring carbon sequestration which could now be used in other horticultural industries in Australia and elsewhere.

A rise in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is leading to climate change, which is adversely affecting farm output, leading to more frequent and more severe droughts, floods and storms and raising the sea level.

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