Estimating & Predicting Carbon Sequestered in a Vineyard with Soil Surveys, Spatial Data & GIS Management

Thesis by John Goward

Supervisors: Prof Chris Rizos & Mark Whitty

UNSW Surveying & Geospatial Engineering - 2012



What is Viticulture & Precision Viticulture?

Viticulture is the study of the science, growing and cultivation of grape vines. Precision Viticulture is the enhancement of standard viticulture management which induces precision farming within vineyards. It comprises of using spatial technologies to collect data relating to crop performance and the attributes of individual production blocks. These technologies include: GPS, remote sensing, GIS, soil surveys, traditional surveying, and generally any spatial measurements.


How has Precision Viticulture been used in this Project?

The idea of Precision Viticulture has been utilised in this project with an emphasis on measuring the ability of vineyards to either successfully sequester Carbon from the atmosphere, or release carbon in to the atmosphere; hence, estimating the Carbon footprint of vineyards. The growing of perennial vines has the tendency to sequester carbon, through photosynthesis, in to its woody matter and also in to the soil for long-term storage.


Viticulture and the Carbon Farming Initiative

The Australian Government has recently introduced the Carbon Farming Initiative scheme, which allows farmers and land managers to earn carbon credits by storing carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions on their land. These credits can then be sold to people and businesses wishing to offset their emissions. In order for land managers and farmers to participate in the CFI their industry needs to have a methodology in place which gives them a procedure to follow to officially prove their Carbon offset. Currently there are no methodologies in place for viticulture. This project attempts to address this issue and offer a possible method, with the use of Precision Viticulture, which could be used for an official methodology submission to the Australian Government in the future.



1. To estimate and predict the carbon footprint of the vineyard, on a yearly basis; by employing PV technologies to investigate the carbon sequestered in the vineyard, and by analysing carbon emissions from the vineyard.

2. To set out a possible CFI draft methodology for viticulture, this could set the basis for a submission to the Australian Government in the future.


Thesis Report

The official report can be viewed here