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Land use, land use change and forestry sector greenhouse gas emissions

Key Finding

In 2018, net emissions from the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector contributed 22.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), or 13% of Queensland’s total emissions. Emissions from the LULUCF sector decreased 66% between 2005 and 2018. Queensland has been the largest source of this type of emissions in Australia since 1990.

The land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector includes forest lands, croplands, grasslands, settlements, and Harvested Wood Products (wood products that are consumed and not yet disposed to a waste stream).

Queensland’s LULUCF sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have shown large fluctuations since 1990 with a general lowering trend in emissions since 2005.

Emissions were 22.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2018. This represents 13% of Queensland’s total emissions.

  • This compares with 108.9 MtCO2e in 1990.
  • In 2005, emissions were 66.1 MtCO2e.

Land clearing rates, time lags in emissions, and climate variations such as droughts and wet spells contribute to fluctuations with spikes seen in 1999, 2001 and 2005.

Land use emissions are the most variable emission source in Queensland’s and Australia’s greenhouse gas accounts due to fluctuations in land clearing rates, time lags in emissions and the effect of climate variability such as droughts and wet spells.

In Queensland, forest lands and harvested wood products are a carbon 'sink' (i.e. where carbon is stored in soil, plants or trees rather than released into the air).

Unlike most other Australian jurisdictions, Queensland is a net source of LULUCF emissions rather than a net ‘sink’. Vegetation clearing is the main source of Queensland’s LULUCF GHG emissions.

  • Tree clearing takes place for many reasons including agricultural purposes, settlements, mining and resource extraction, and responses to changes in government regulation.
  • Emissions from this sector occurs in the following sub-sectors: grasslands; croplands and settlements.
  • Emissions have declined from the land use sector since 1990 due to increases in carbon sinks through forest regrowth (on previously cleared land) and declines in forest land being cleared to grasslands for agricultural purposes.

Note: These estimates are based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change classification system used to report Australia’s GHG emissions inventory under UNFCCC guidelines. Previous State of Environment LULUCF reporting was based on the Kyoto Protocol accounting method.

More information:

Relevant Sustainable Development Goals’ targets

  • GOAL 3: GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
  • GOAL 11: SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
  • GOAL 12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION

Comparison of state and territory land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) emissions, 2018

  • Chart
  • Table
StateEmissions
Queensland22.803
New South Wales-13.282
Victoria-11.436
Western Australia-9.021
South Australia-4.683
Northern Territory5.507
Tasmania-10.391
Australian Capital Territory-0.097

Trends in Queensland's net land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) emissions, by category

  • Chart
  • Table
YearForest landsCroplandsGrasslandsSettlementsHarvested Wood Products
1990-3.2507.924101.4131.745-1.013
1991-3.1737.99094.3611.651-0.907
1992-3.3595.12768.5421.522-0.984
1993-3.3123.16262.6281.375-1.021
1994-3.2224.23652.5711.497-1.185
1995-4.3302.11848.8971.182-1.286
1996-3.4353.35148.4011.070-1.069
1997-5.2311.88446.1091.015-1.198
1998-7.2141.32944.5441.020-1.393
1999-5.7551.73653.2441.116-1.273
2000-6.7210.69852.9791.066-1.476
2001-6.0712.01565.3051.141-1.221
2002-5.6731.79863.9681.028-1.402
2003-4.7462.22758.1131.185-1.503
2004-4.9912.29852.3501.354-1.490
2005-4.6731.31067.0901.592-1.352
2006-5.0551.44562.1141.487-1.284
2007-4.1891.44560.3761.302-1.273
2008-1.3572.23450.3381.404-1.264
2009-1.4192.99941.1131.175-0.933
2010-1.4462.66745.1781.010-0.876
20111.1982.43030.2180.967-0.910
20120.2581.01231.8970.894-0.735
2013-2.4563.09529.3900.847-0.709
2014-3.9081.99230.5080.730-0.862
2015-4.0531.20025.5980.692-0.876
2016-9.0181.71825.5010.666-0.935
2017-7.9180.70026.9220.631-0.916
2018-7.9671.80727.2730.535-0.922

Queensland’s total land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) emissions

YearEmissions (million tonnes)
1990108.916
1991102.098
199272.734
199364.599
199455.713
199548.402
199650.635
199744.899
199840.449
199951.572
200048.776
200163.387
200261.686
200357.091
200451.688
200566.093
200660.790
200759.615
200853.569
200945.353
201048.386
201136.593
201234.820
201332.277
201430.704
201524.815
201619.848
201721.445
201822.803

Download data from Queensland Government data

Metadata

Queensland annual greenhouse gas emissions in carbon dioxide equivalent from 1990–2018 by land use, land use change and forestry sector reported under the UNFCCC. Total land use, land use change and forestry sector greenhouse gas emissions in millions of tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent comparing states for 2018 reported under the UNFCCC. Note: Estimates are based on the IPCC classification system used to report Australia’s greenhouse gas emission inventory under UNFCCC guidelines. Source: Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.