This Plan focuses on climate change mitigation efforts described as a suite of bio-sequestration activities that are carried out on farming and other rural land to abate greenhouse gas emissions (carbon farming). The activities can be supported through a voluntary market or through the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund. These mechanisms can support a range of activities across the land sector to mitigate climate change.
This Plan identifies regional priorities for carbon farming activities by considering the co-benefits of these activities and the potential risks to the Catchment’s natural resources. As such, this Plan focuses on five carbon sequestration opportunities for which methods have been developed and are supported by the current Emissions Reduction Fund (Australian Government Clean Energy Regulator 2015):
- Permanent even-aged native forests: permanent native forests that develop following management changes to encourage natural regeneration.
- Native forest protection: avoidance of legally permitted clearing of native forests and on-going management to maintain a composition similar to the same vegetation community in a nearby park or State forest.
- Permanent environmental plantings: establishment of new plantings of locally indigenous native species on land that has not recently supported native forest.
- Permanent Mallee plantings: establishment of Mallee eucalypts in blocks or belts on land receiving less than 600 millimetres of average annual rainfall and not recently supporting native forest cover.
- Afforestation and reforestation: establishment of a new forest on land that has not recently supported native forest cover. The new forests may be environmental plantings, farm forestry plantings or long-rotation hardwood plantations and receiving less than 600 millimetres of average annual rainfall.
The assessment of priority landscapes for carbon farming includes eligibility criteria for the methods described above plus principles for planning carbon farming projects.