COWIE, Annette

Annette Cowie

Research interests

  • Sustainable land management - indicators, assessment, certification and policy development
  • Assessing and enhancing resilience of agro-ecosystems
  • Carbon dynamics in agriculture and forestry
  • GHG accounting for inventory and emissions trading
  • Life cycle assessment, especially to assess the carbon footprint of products, and climate change mitigation value of reforestation, bioenergy and biochar systems


Annette Cowie has a background in soil science and plant nutrition, with particular interest in sustainable resource management. Annette contributes to development of policy for GHG abatement, including GHG accounting for emissions trading at state, national and international levels. Annette led the New Forests research program in the NSW DPI (2001-2009), researching environmental services from planted forests, and the Applications and Outreach program in the CRC Greenhouse Accounting 2002-2004. Annette was the Director of Rural Climate Solutions, an alliance between NSW DPI and the University of New England 2009- 2014. Annette was a member of interim Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee, assessing methodologies for the Carbon Farming Initiative 2010-2012. Since 2000 Annette has been a member of the International Energy Agency Bioenergy research network “Climate Change Effects of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems”, and currently leads this group. Since 2012 Annette has been the Land Degradation advisor on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility. She is a member of the Science Policy Interface of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.


  • BRSc UNE
  • MAgSc UQ
  • PhD UNE

Current and recently completed projects

  • Task Leader IEA Bioenergy Task 38 Climate Change Effects of Biomass and Bioenergy systems, developing and promoting methods for quantifying the climate effects of bioenergy.
  • Role of carbon farming in enhancing resilience in the rangelands
  • Land Degradation Advisor - Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel to the Global Environment Facility
  • Science-Policy Interface United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
  • Development of ISO standard for carbon footprinting

Recent publications

Cottle DJ, AL Cowie 2016. Allocation of greenhouse gas production between wool and meat in the life cycle assessment of Australian sheep production. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 21 820-830.

Soimakallio S, M Brandão, T Ekvall, A Cowie, G Finnveden, M Erlandsson, K Koponen, PE Karlsson 2016. On the validity of natural regeneration in determination of land-use baseline. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 21 448-450.

Young R, A Cowie, S Harden, R McLeod 2016. Soil carbon and inferred net primary production in high and low intensity grazing systems on the New England Tableland, Eastern Australia. Soil Research (in press).

Liu, DL, GJ O'Leary, Y Ma, A Cowie, FY Li, M McCaskill, M Conyers, R Dalal, F Robertson, W Dougherty 2016. Modelling soil organic carbon 2. Changes under a range of cropping and grazing farming systems in eastern Australia. Geoderma 265 164-175.

Smith P, SJ Davis, F Creutzig, S Fuss, J Minx, B Gabrielle, E Kato, RB Jackson, A Cowie et al. 2016. Biophysical and economic limits to negative CO2 emissions. Nature Clim. Change 6 42-50.

Rabbi SMF, M Tighe, A Cowie, BR Wilson, G Schwenke, M McLeod, W Badgery, J Baldock 2014. The relationships between land uses, soil management practices, and soil carbon fractions in South Eastern Australia. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 197 41-52.

Walela C, H Daniel, B Wilson, P Lockwood, A Cowie, S Harden 2014. The initial lignin:nitrogen ratio of litter from above and below ground sources strongly and negatively influenced decay rates of slowly decomposing litter carbon pools. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 77 268-275.

Quin PR, AL Cowie, RJ Flavel, BP Keen, LM Macdonald, SG Morris, BP Singh, IM Young, L Van Zwieten 2014. Oil mallee biochar improves soil structural properties—A study with x-ray micro-CT. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 191 142-149.

Downie A, D Lau, A Cowie, P Munroe 2014 Approaches to greenhouse gas accounting methods for biomass carbon. Biomass and Bioenergy 60 18-31.

Singh BP, A Cowie 2014 Long-term influence of biochar on native organic carbon mineralisation in a low-carbon clayey soil. Scientific Reports 4 Article number: 3687 doi:10.1038/srep03687

Professional associations and activities

  • Australian Soil Science Society
  • International Biochar Initiative
  • Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society

Fields of research

  • 050301 Carbon Sequestration Science
  • 160507 Environment Policy

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Bioenergy

Contact details

Location: Beef Research Centre, Armidale