Compost and Climate Change

The Federal Government describes the Carbon Farming Initiative as a scheme to help Australian land managers, forest growers, and farmers to earn income from reducing emissions or storing carbon in the landscape.

But what is the Carbon Farming Initiative? How does it work? How do land managers earn carbon credits and what land-based activities are considered eligible?

And where does Compost fit into the CFI puzzle? It is well documented that preventing organic residues from going to landfill avoids methane emissions and also preserves organic carbon and nutrients for beneficial use in land management and food production. It is equally well known that on-going use of compost improves physical, chemical and biological soil properties.

The agricultural and horticultural use of compost also supports climate change mitigation on two fronts:  

  1. Removal of atmospheric carbon through soil carbon sequestration achieved directly through storage of compost carbon, and indirectly through enhanced plant growth, which in turn contributes also to increased soil carbon levels.
  2. Reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through reduced use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides (and thus production of these products) and through reduced irrigation.