Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Dale, G, Economic Returns From Environmental Problems — Breeding Salt and Stress Tolerant Eucalypts for Carbon Sequestration, Salinity Abatement and Commercial Forestry, in Aziz, N (ed), Coal 2005: Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2005, 271-276.


Carbon sequestration in planted forests provides an immediately available, low cost option to address the greenhouse impacts of coal mining and coal utilisation in a carbon constrained world. In addition, planted forests also offer the opportunity to address other environmental issues, particularly salinity and loss of biodiversity. Given salinity is characteristically associated with agriculture in the 500 to 700 mm rainfall belt, then where such forests can also produce commercial timber products, they offer the additional opportunity to establish new, diversified rural employment in both timber growing and processing. In the majority of Australian catchments affected by salinity, where rainfall is generally less than the 700 mm limit to conventional forestry, and where groundwater reserves are often saline, the objective of achieving economically viable forestry production presents a significant challenge. In 1996, Saltgrow commenced a collaborative breeding program to combine the salt and stress tolerance of E camaldulensis, with the growth rate, stem form and wood properties of the commercial species, E grandis and E globulus. This program aimed to produce trees with the potential for commercial rehabilitation of saline landscapes. Results covering a range of site conditions from Saltgrow’s network of over 100 trials around Australia are presented. The opportunity for commercial plantations integrated with agriculture in low to medium rainfall areas to address salinity and sustainability will be discussed. In addition, the significant potential for partnerships between land-rich, cash-poor farmers, catchment management authorities seeking to invest in public good projects that enhance environmental sustainability, and major carbon producing industries with either mandated or voluntary requirements to curtail net emissions will also be discussed.