December 2014
An investigation into the potential for wild animal control to contribute to nationally increased carbon stocks. Published 2014.

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Summary: Wild Animal Control for Emissions Management research synthesis (PDF, 1,221K)

Full report: Wild Animal Control for Emissions Management research synthesis (PDF, 608K)


As well as being a large store of carbon, New Zealand’s forests and other native vegetation communities are a net absorber of CO2 from the atmosphere. As these forests are predominantly on conservation land, the way that DOC manages them has an important bearing on their role as carbon sinks.

Wild animal control is also a big part of DOC’s remit but little has been known about the carbon impact – does reducing the numbers of browsing animals significantly increase sequestration by protecting soil and enabling vegetation to grow?

To answer this question, between 2007 and 2013, DOC commissioned a research programme from Landcare Research investigating whether wild animal control can assist carbon sequestration in indigenous ecosystems. The research has produced five reports and a number of science papers discussing carbon management on conservation land.

The studies’ findings are important for future land management decisions, for both conservation and nonconservation land. All results are merged in the full report synthesis. The impacts for conservation land and implications on its management are outlined in the summary document. 

Publication information

This report has been prepared by Landcare Research for the Department of Conservation.

Investigation no: DOC4424

Authors: FE Carswell, RJ Holdaway, NWH Mason, SJ Richardson, LE Burrows, RB Allen,DA Peltzer

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