24 Jul 2009

Solid Energy tracks carbon storage gains from goat cull

12:34 pm on 24 July 2009

A coal-mining company has started measuring the carbon storage benefits of culling wild goats in native forests.

Solid Energy is conducting the research on 23,000 hectares of conservation land on the West Coast.

Wild goats eat small plants on the forest floor, destroying their potential to store carbon.

Under a deal with the Department of Conservation, Solid Energy pays for pest control in return for any carbon credits the project generates.

The company says it does not know whether culling goats is economic so it has set up trial plots to find out.

Solid Energy and Lincoln University will monitor the results of pest control over the next five to 10 years.

The Royal Forest & Bird Society of New Zealand says goats are consuming woody vegetation on degraded land where re-vegetation could otherwise happen. It says this robs the country of significant carbon sinks.

More details can be heard more on Insight on Sunday morning just after the 8am news.