Reforesting cleared farming land with mixed native species can potentially earn carbon credits for the carbon stored in the trees, soil and litter. Trees planted in blocks or belts can integrate with agricultural acitivies. Only plantings that have occurred since 1 July 2007 are eligible, but earlier plantings will be considered for approval if written documentation can be produced proving that the planting was for carbon sequestration purposes.
There are several eligible emissions reduction activities Under the Emission Reduction Fund.
Benefits from permanent environmental plantings
Carbon benefit is the trading of Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) with Australian companies that have a liability under the carbon price mechanism.
Co-benefits of permanent environmental plantings potentially include:
- reduced recharge and increased discharge on areas at risk from rising watertables
- improved shelter for livestock, especially lambing ewes, off-shears sheep, and lambs
- reduced wind and water erosion
- reduced spray drift
- enhanced biodiversity benefits through providing habitat.
Opportunity for reforesting with permanent environmental plantings using native species may be a viable option for revegetating marginal or unproductive lands.
Risks in permanent environmental plantings
- The price of ACCUs is volatile.
- If trees are burnt or die from drought, farmers may have to repay the carbon credits they hold or re-establish the planting.