Improving soil carbon storage can help reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Farmers can increase the carbon stored in soil by changing land management practices. These practices increase the living and decomposing organic matter in soil.
Increasing the amount of carbon in soil can also support:
- improved agricultural productivity
- protection against drought and erosion
- improved water quality and biodiversity.
Investing in soil carbon innovation
The $50.7 million National Soil Carbon Innovation Challenge aims to fast-track low-cost, accurate technological solutions for measuring soil carbon. The program provides:
- $1 million in grants to support 17 feasibility studies
- $49 million in grants to support development and demonstration projects.
The $7 million Soil Carbon Data Program supports partnerships to improve data in low-cost alternatives for measuring soil carbon. The program includes:
- engaging CSIRO and their state-based partners under the Soil Organic Carbon Monitoring Project (SOC-M). The SOC-M project will access and collect new data from 300 original Soil Carbon Research Program (SCaRP) sites to fast-track collection of data that can support estimates of changes in soil carbon over time.
- making improvements to the modelling of soil in Australia’s Full Carbon Accounting Model.
Incentivising soil carbon storage
We support farmers to increase soil carbon through Australia’s carbon crediting scheme, the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). Land managers receive one Australian carbon credit unit for every tonne of emissions reduced or stored through a project.
The 2021 ERF soil carbon method helps to reduce measurement costs by offering a hybrid physical soil testing and modelling option. This can make it easier and cheaper to run soil carbon ERF projects.
There is also a 2015 soil carbon method using default values available.
- Read more about our department's emissions reduction strategies