University of Queensland
Coastal wetland restoration for blue carbon in northern Australia
Australia has large blue carbon stocks, many of which have been degraded or converted since European colonisation, and which provide opportunities for restoration for carbon credits that could provide income incentives to landholders and Indigenous land managers. Factors influencing the opportunity for coastal wetland restoration are likely to vary across Australia’s coastline, but an analysis of the variation in economic feasibility over different regions with different farming systems, pressures, ecosystem services, and potential carbon abatement, is yet to be done..
This project aims to develop a method, that can be widely used across Australia, to identify coastal wetland restoration sites for blue carbon projects based on a value-based framework that considers biophysical suitability, wetland values (biodiversity, fisheries, nitrogen removal, Indigenous heritage, and flood mitigation), benefits to Traditional Owners, regulation and policy adequacy, and economic feasibility. An assessment of opportunities for blue carbon restoration in the Wet Tropics (Hagger et al. in press) has shown that there are large areas of low-lying sugarcane and grazing land that could be restored. This project will build on this assessment to 1) identify the opportunity for coastal wetland restoration for blue carbon in other climatic and land use contexts in northern Australia, 2) incorporate policy and regulatory frameworks into the identification of restoration sites, and 3) refine land suitable for restoration through a value-based framework that considers wetland values and opportunities for Indigenous-led carbon projects.