The Carbon storage in kiwifruit orchards Project

The Carbon in Orchard Soils Team (COST) has been funded by the Sustainable Farming Fund in order to quantify above and below ground carbon storage in kiwifruit orchards. We believe that carbon storage offers mitigation for climate change and enhances water and nutrient use efficiency; thereby providing adaptation to climate change. Better knowledge on carbon storage will contribute to the eco-verification of NZ’s image of ‘clean-green’ kiwifruit.

There are three aspects of carbon that are of importance to the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry:

1. The carbon footprint of kiwifruit. Because of our geographic location, NZ kiwifruit has been under pressure because of the amount of carbon used to get it to the predominantly Northern hemisphere markets. We have to find out the total carbon footprint as large buyers overseas are placing demands on suppliers to provide this information.

2. Carbon Sequestration. It is likely that a kiwifruit orchard sequesters carbon from the atmosphere by way of photosynthesis and stores this carbon as plant tissue such as roots, trunks, canes leaves etc. We plan to determine if a kiwifruit orchard actually reduces the amount of carbon in the atmosphere over the course of a season.

3. Soil quality. Carbon is the basis of soil organic matter, and is therefore critical in the soils ability to store water, buffer nutrient supply and provide a healthy environment for plant roots. This project aims to determine the relationship between soil carbon and production, and the affect certain soil management practices have on orchard performance.

The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is in a great position to undertake and benefit from this work, as we have a unified industry with one marketing body, ZESPRI. It is unlikely that other producers of kiwifruit with their disjointed industries will be able to undertake such a diverse carbon study.This project will not become involved in the politics of carbon on the world stage, or the environmental philosophy behind the interest in carbon.

Click here for further information from Zespri.

The project aims to:
     • Survey the impact of orchard properties on net carbon storage;
     • Analyse the environmental and economic benefits of maximising carbon storage;
     • Develop and disseminate guidelines for growers on economically and environmentally sustainable carbon storage;

This project is being managed, undertaken and supported by the following:
PlusGroup, Plant&Food Research, ZESPRI, ARGOS, AgFirst. Also, the project is being supported by a number of regional councils to help promote sustainable land management practices in kiwifruit orchards namely Northland Regional Council, Environment Waikato, Environment Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay Regional Council, and Tasman District Council.

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Tel.+64 7 552 5985 Fax.+64 7 552 5975 Email: admin@plusgroup.co.nz