Like all life on earth, sheep and their wool are part of the planet’s natural carbon cycle. As the global community has become more concerned with the increase in atmospheric CO2 resulting from human interventions, the wool sector has been assessing its role in that situation and exploring ways in which it can contribute to reducing the quantity of carbon escaping into the atmosphere.
Sheep and wool are represented in the carbon cycle as biogenic carbon. This is carbon that is part of the natural cycle, being derived from living matter which has absorbed carbon through its life. 50% of the weight of clean wool is pure biogenic carbon.
In contrast, emissions from fossilised carbon lie at the heart of the global warming crisis, but greenhouse gases are emitted from sheep. Therefore, farmers around the world can impact the natural carbon cycle, by influencing the amount of carbon stored in plants and soils, and through the way that they manage animals. Responsible practices can increase the level of carbon stored in pastures and soils and make a positive contribution to mitigating climate change.