Carbon cycle

Carbon cycle and climate change

The role of the terrestrial carbon cycle in the climate system is complex, with two-way flows of carbon between the land sector and atmosphere that both create emissions and provide opportunities for mitigation. Feedback processes between the land and climate involve changing the atmospheric composition and changing processes of plant growth and soil organic matter dynamics. Changes in these processes impact the essential resources for human society of providing food, fibre and natural ecosystems. Processes of ecosystem function need to adapt to climate change and climate variability to survive and maintain the provision of ecosystem services.

Research spans the breadth of spatial and temporal scales of the carbon – climate system; from detailed field measurements of carbon stocks and impacts of land management systems, to the national and international policy context of the scientific issues. Outcomes from the research at all scales is related to contributing to scientific evidence-based information for decision-making.

The intersection of this research with that of the Oceans carbon cycle group contribute to understanding of that of the global carbon cycle.

This research group encompasses researchers from the Fenner School and the College of Law. 

Areas of research

  • Frameworks for carbon accounting systems
  • Policy implications of accounting rules and the role of governance and institutions
  • Carbon stocks and stock changes estimated spatially across forested landscapes
  • Impacts of natural disturbances and human activities on carbon stocks in native forests
  • Life cycle analysis of harvested wood products
  • Environmental accounts of natural resource assets and ecosystem services.
  • Carbon sequestration in biodiverse plantings
  • Changing land management practices to increase carbon stocks in grazing systems



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Updated:  25 April 2019/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  Web Admin