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Reforestation by Environmental or Mallee Plantings FullCAM method

07 February 2017

Is the reforestation by environmental or mallee plantings method suitable for your business?

  • Are you able to establish and maintain plantings of either mixed native trees or mallee eucalypt?
  • Has the land been clear of forest cover for at least five years?

If you have answered yes to these questions, the reforestation by environmental or mallee plantings method may be suitable for your business.

A reforestation by environmental or mallee plantings project involves establishing and maintaining vegetation such as trees or shrubs on land that has been clear of forest for at least five years. You can plant either a mix of trees, shrubs and understory species native to the local area or species of mallee eucalypts.

The project helps to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas entering the atmosphere, because carbon is stored in the trees as they grow. The carbon stored in the trees, shrubs and debris on site is called the carbon stock, while the term abatement refers to the overall reduction in greenhouse gases as a result of a project.

The carbon stock held in the project's trees, shrubs and debris (dead plant material) is calculated using a computer modelling tool called the Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM). The net amount of abatement during a project's reporting period is then determined by subtracting emissions due to fires and fuel use from the amount of carbon stock. The resulting net abatement for the project can then be used to apply for Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs).

As a sequestration activity, that is, an activity that stores carbon in vegetation or soil, a reforestation by environmental or mallee plantings project is subject to a 'permanence obligation'. This means the project must be maintained 'permanently' (for a nominated period of either 100 or 25 years).

Method variations

Section 114 of the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Ini​tiative) Act 2011 (the Act)​ ​allows for methods to be revised and varied. This is to ensure methods continue to operate as originally intended. Variations to methods are developed and drafted by the Department of the Environment and Energy. Information on draft methods and method variations is available on the Department of the Environment and Energy’s website.

The Clean Energy Regulator recommends making yourself familiar with proposed method variations relevant to your project should they arise, and how any changes between the original method and the varied method may affect your project plan.

Legislative requirements

You must read and understand the method and other legislative requirements to conduct a reforestation by environmental or mallee plantings project and earn ACCUs. This includes:

Tools and Resources

Regulatory guidance

Quick reference guide to the reforestation by environmental or mallee plantings FullCAM method

The quick reference guide provides basic information about eligibility criteria and obligations that must be met to earn ACCUs from a reforestation by environmental or mallee plantings project. It includes links to the legislation, but should not be viewed as an alternative to reading the full legislative requirements.

Quick reference guide contents:

Crediting period

Twenty-five years – The crediting period is the period of time a project can apply to claim Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs).

Relevant section of the Act:

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Eligibility Requirements

There are general eligibility requirements in the Act, which include:

Projects can be run in any area of Australia with FullCAM modelling data, and plantings must be established on land that has been clear of forest cover for at least five years previously.

Part 2 of the method requires that specific information is included in a project application before the project can be considered eligible. You should ensure you refer to this part and provide all the required information.

Relevant section of the Act:

Relevant section of the Method:

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Project Activities

A project involves establishing and maintaining vegetation such as trees or shrubs on land that has been clear of forest for at least the last five years. This can be either a:

  • mallee eucalypt planting, or
  • mixture of native species, termed a mixed-species environmental planting.

Trees can be planted as either seeds or tubestock, in rows or randomly, and in areas that are either linear belts or blocks. They must be planted at a density that will allow them to achieve forest cover, which means they must have the potential to reach a height of at least two metres and provide crown cover over at least 20 per cent of the land.

You must identify the area in which your project will occur using the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) Mapping Tool  (or a similar tool) and the CFI Mapping Guidelines. The area is then divided, or stratified, into a combination of two different zones:

  • carbon estimation areas, which are the areas of your project where carbon will be stored and for which ACCUs may be issued, and
  • exclusion zones, which are areas where project activities will not be conducted, such as a road, building or dam.

Click for further information about project activities.

Relevant section of the Method:

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Exclusions

 

  • The land used for a project must not contain woody biomass or an invasive native scrub species that needs clearing before planting can occur, except for known weed species that are required or authorised by law to be cleared.
  • Certain types of activities, such as harvesting and grazing, are restricted.
  • Mallee eucalypt plantings are excluded from areas that receive more than 600 millimetres of long-term average rainfall, unless the planting meets the exemption requirements under Section 4.9 of the method.

 

Relevant section of the Method:

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How is abatement calculated

Abatement is calculated using a computer modelling tool called the Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM). Projects following this method are to use the version of FullCAM and FullCAM Guidelines available on the Department of the Environment and Energy’s website at the time of submitting a project report to the Clean Energy Regulator.

FullCAM uses a variety of settings, called calibrations, to model the amount of carbon stored in different types of plantings. Schedule 1 in the method explains that plantings can fall under either a range of specific calibrations or a generic calibration.

The data used as inputs to FullCAM include:

  • the project's location and planting dates
  • planting type and species
  • planting geometry (i.e. belts or blocks)
  • plant spacing
  • stocking density (number of seeds or plants per hectare), and
  • proportion of trees to shrubs.

A full explanation of how to use FullCAM to model the amount of carbon stored by your project can be found on the Department of the Environment and Energy's website.

The net amount of abatement is determined by subtracting emissions due to fires and fuel use from the amount of carbon stored in the project's trees, shrubs and debris (dead plant material).

Relevant section of the Method:

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Reporting Requirements

In addition to the reporting requirements of the Act and the Rule, Division 5.4 of the method also sets out method-specific requirements for the first and subsequent reports. The information you are required to provide includes:

  • net abatement amount and related carbon stock data
  • data on emissions from biomass burning and fuel use
  • project area, forest management and forest cover information, and
  • FullCAM files and output data.

 

Relevant section of the Act:

Relevant section of the Rule:

Relevant section of the Method:

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Monitoring Requirements

Monitoring requirements

In addition to the general monitoring requirements of the Act, Section 5.3 of the method describes specific monitoring requirements. These include using on-ground observation and/or remote-sensing imagery to:

  • monitor management and disturbance events
  • ensure compliance with Part 3 of the method and the CFI Mapping Guidelines, and
  • demonstrate that the requirements for any specific calibrations have been met.

 

Relevant section of the Act:

Relevant section of the Method:

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Record-keeping requirements

In addition to the record-keeping requirements of the Act and the Rule, Division 5.3 of the method describes specific record-keeping requirements. These include keeping records related to:

  • forest cover and plantings
  • stratification into carbon estimation areas
  • fires
  • fuel use
  • FullCAM modelling
  • forest management
  • any specific calibrations used, and
  • the project area.

 

Relevant section of the Act:

Relevant section of the Rule:

Relevant section of the Method:

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Audits

All projects receive an audit schedule when the project is declared and must provide audit reports according to this schedule. A minimum of three audits will be scheduled and additional audits may be triggered. For more information on the audit requirements, see the Act, the Rule and the audit information on our website.

Relevant section of the Act:

Relevant section of the Rule:

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Specialist skills

To ensure the required level of accuracy of the inputs to FullCAM for calculating carbon stock, it may be necessary to seek assistance from a technical expert. You should consider the cost of this service before deciding to run a project.

Relevant section of the Rule:

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