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Reforestation by environmental or mallee plantings FullCAM method

31 August 2021

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 5 years?

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

Consultation open: Environmental plantings pilot

The Clean Energy Regulator is designing a pilot to encourage the uptake of Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) projects by farmers and landholders using the environmental plantings method.

The proposed environmental plantings pilot has three components: streamlined registration and crediting, access to a fixed price Australian Government purchasing desk in addition to ERF auctions and reduced auditing requirements.

We are seeking feedback on the documentasset:Environmental Plantings Pilot Consultation Paper, which provides information about the proposed pilot design.

Make a submission

Make your submission by 5 pm, Tuesday 28th September 2021 (AEST). Any submissions received after this date will be considered at the discretion of the Clean Energy Regulator.

It is preferred that you email your submission to ERFStrategy@cer.gov.au with a completed documentasset:Coversheet for submissions - environmental plantings pilot. The coversheet includes contact details and information about confidentiality and privacy.

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 5 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 (dead plant material)
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 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

The Clean Energy Regulator develops variations to methods for a range of reasons including:

  • to implement an ERAC decision to extend the crediting period of a method
  • to ensure methods continue to operate as originally intended
  • to account for technological advances that enable new measurement approaches.

Methods being varied or methods under review are published on the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) website and our method consultation page.

The method variations page provides additional information about how a method variation might affect an existing project.


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.

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).

Find this part in the latest version 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 5 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.

Find this part in the latest version of the Act:

Find these sections in the latest determination 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 5 years. This can be either a:

  • mallee eucalypt planting
  • 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 2 metres and provide crown cover over at least 20% of the land.

You must identify the area in which your project will occur using the Long Term Average Rainfall Map Layer 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
  • exclusion zones, which are areas where project activities will not be conducted, such as a road, building or dam.

Visit project activities for more information.

​Find these parts in the latest determination 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.

Find these parts in the latest determination 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).

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)
  • 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 Agriculture, Water and the Environment'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).

Read A guide to the 2020 FullCAM – transition arrangements for information on which version of FullCAM must be used for your project.

Find these parts in the latest determination 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
  • FullCAM files and output data.

Find this part in the latest version of the Act:

Find this part in the latest version of the Rule:

Find this part in the latest determination of the Method:

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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:

Find this part in the latest version of the Act:

Find this part in the latest determination 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
  • 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. In most cases, a minimum of 3 audits will be scheduled and additional audits may be triggered. Certain environmental projects are eligible for alternative assurance arrangements and zero scheduled audits if they opt in to meet and maintain the eligibility criteria outlined in the Audit Threshold Instrument (ATI). For more information on the audit requirements, see the Act, the Rule, the ATI and audit information.

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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