Carbon flows: Key to pastoral productivity – Alan Lauder

Former pastoralist Alan Lauder’s pioneering insights into the management of pastoral landscapes by timing – dynamic management of carbon production – are explained in a series of 37 easy-to-read columns, along with his ground-breaking book of 2008 Carbon Grazing,  an update and other explanatory material. All are published on the Carbon Stocks and Flows page of this site.

“Carbon grazing” refers to management of pastoral land in a way that maximises carbon flows. Carbon flows at different speeds through ecosystems, including through livestock. An understanding of this principle changes one’s approach to land management. Graziers need to be harvesting only the surplus, not the means by which a usable surplus is generated. They should harvest what resides above ground after adequate carbon has flowed to all parts of the landscape, such as after rain. This approach will ensure future animal production and ongoing environmental resilience.

The columns are based on science fortified with paddock-scale observations. Flows of carbon carry energy and nutrients and make them available to plants and animals. The materials on Mr Lauder’s page Carbon Stocks and Flows are essential reading for every grazier, extension officer and those running programs to sequester carbon emissions.