Regenerative agriculture and carbon farming: Synergies and opportunities
Carbon farming – you’ve heard of it, and you probably have a fair idea of what it involves. But how does regenerative farming fit in, and how does it work in synergy with carbon farming projects to deliver important co-benefits for landholders, society and the environment?
It’s time to find out.
What is regenerative agriculture?
Essentially, regenerative agriculture is an environmental approach to farming that prioritises the health of the land. It involves a variety of sustainable agriculture and grazing practices that improve land quality by boosting the amount of carbon in the soil, improving water retention and helping increase soil quality and biodiversity. Ultimately, these practices rehabilitate the land, promote carbon sequestration and drive positive action on climate change.
How do regenerative agriculture and carbon farming work in synergy?
Regenerative agriculture and carbon farming projects can – and do – operate independently. By working in tandem, however, they can drive greater outcomes for land managers and more meaningful action on climate change.
Soil quality is key. Why? Because land managers need nutrient-rich soil for the long-term sustainability of their operation. Carbon farming projects that take a ‘regenerative’ approach to agriculture, then, help land managers identify and use more sustainable farming practices that promote nutrient cycling in the soil. These practices deliver a suite of crucial co-benefits, healing the land and generating productive new revenue streams for farmers and graziers.
Case study: Breathing life back into drought-affected land
Cairo sits in the Warrego catchment of the Darling River Plains, roughly 120km south-east of Cunnamulla in Queensland. After a long drought, the land was suffering – native vegetation had declined and what was left was being ravaged by feral goats and a high stocking density.
Murray and Necia McBride took over Cairo with a Human-Induced Regeneration project already in place. They saw the additional income as an opportunity to make sustainable land management changes that would regenerate the land and protect the future of their grazing operation.
By decreasing stock numbers and installing new infrastructure such as fences, traps, watering points and mustering tracks, the McBrides have enabled Box flats, Brigalow woodlands and Saltbush shrublands to thrive. What’s more, they report the regeneration of the land has been beyond what they hoped. They can see the benefits of the project first-hand, and plan to increase stock numbers again in the future thanks to enriched soil and vegetation, which has increased productivity and profitability of their grazing business.
What are the co-benefits of these ‘regenerative’ carbon farming projects?
We’re glad you asked.
Ecosystem services have been defined as the benefits to humans from nature, or direct and indirect contributions of ecosystems to human wellbeing. It includes improving water quality, reducing wind and water erosion, balancing soil pH and improving biodiversity. All things that are essential to maintain a well-functioning ecosystem – not to mention the sequestration of carbon that the projects are designed to deliver.
GreenCollar’s Carbon farming projects run alongside existing farming operations, providing an additional and diversified stream of income that improves resilience of farming operations and creates opportunities to invest back into the main business.
Local communities also reap the benefits of these regenerative projects which can boosting socio-economic resilience of the local economy. By providing opportunities for land managers to invest in their operations, they can boost local employment and skills development, and help improve landholder wellbeing through connection to place by tangibly enhancing social and environmental connectivity.
To learn more about GreenCollar’s exciting carbon farming projects, click here.