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Climate change adaptation & mitigation

Utilising and building on existing strengths in the integrated management of carbon, nutrients and water, and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation research, this portfolio designs new approaches to land-based climate adaptation for New Zealand.

This portfolio contributes to reducing New Zealand’s potential liability for greenhouse gas emissions and carbon stocks by ensuring national inventories meet international best practice. It is also overcoming the challenges implicit in developing cost-effective mitigation practices and technologies without reducing agricultural productivity. Unlike most developed countries, half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are methane and nitrous oxide resulting from agricultural practices. As these gases are emitted at landscape scales and atmospheric concentrations are very low, there are high uncertainties in measurement.  

Research of most relevance to Māori will be establishing the potential for carbon sequestration on their lands. 

Key research partners include AgResearch, NIWA, Lincoln University, Massey University (measurement and verification of greenhouse gas emissions) and the University of Waikato, Plant and Food Research, and Scion (carbon sequestration rates). We also contribute to the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre.  

Research priorities 

  • Integrated management of carbon, nutrients and water  
  • Agricultural GHG mitigation and modelling 
  • Climate-smart landscapes 

Key leaders