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Review finds New Zealand a world leader in climate change

A government research programme has positioned New Zealand as a world-leader in research into mitigating greenhouse gases from agriculture and adapting to climate change, a recent independent review has found.

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI’s) Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change (SLMACC) research programme supports the generation of new climate change knowledge across New Zealand’s agriculture and forestry sectors.

The independent review found SLMACC has triggered new research, and boosted New Zealand’s understanding of the potential impacts and implications of climate change for a range of primary industries, particularly pastoral farming systems and responding to drought.

“Climate change affects every one of New Zealand’s land-based producers, from farmers, growers and foresters, to the communities that support them,” says Steve Penno, Director Investment Programmes at MPI.

“New Zealand relies heavily on its natural environment and the primary production it supports. A warming planet poses challenges and unknowns, so it’s vital to invest in research to better understand the land-based sector’s future operating environment and, importantly, how a country like ours must adapt.”

“SLMACC has contributed heavily towards growing this understanding and enhancing the science capability needed.”

“The review found it’s creating high quality research, engaging stakeholders and end-users, growing climate change science capability in New Zealand, enabling international collaborations and supporting researchers early in their careers to build their capability and experience.

“A number of other SLMACC benefits were supported by the review, such as building more accurate knowledge about long-term carbon storage in our forests and providing resources to increase awareness of climate change and practical options for use on-farm.”

The SLMACC research programme recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, marking an investment of around $50 million in more than 150 targeted basic, applied and policy research projects. A number of its projects are showcased in Investing in tomorrow, a booklet released in September 2018.

Investing in tomorrow and copies of the review reports (including a summary of findings) are available on the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change web page at mpi.govt.nz/funding.

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