The Clean Energy Regulator has released the Understanding your soil carbon project – Simple guide.
This simple guide provides a step-by-step guide on how to register, run and report on a soil carbon project.
See soil carbon projects under the Climate Solutions Fund for more information.
If you have answered yes to these questions, the measurement of soil carbon sequestration in agricultural systems method
may be suitable for you.
The measurement of soil carbon sequestration in agricultural systems method credits measured increases in soil carbon as a result of one or more new or materially different management activities in grazing or cropping land (including woody horticulture) that store carbon in that land. Soil carbon stocks must be estimated using specified soil sampling methods and samples must be measured for soil carbon content using specified laboratory techniques or calibrated in-field sensors.
Existing projects under the sequestering carbon in soils in grazing systems method may be eligible to transition to the measurement of soil carbon sequestration in agricultural systems method.
In situations where measuring increases in soil carbon is not suitable you may consider the
estimating sequestration of carbon in soil using default values method.
Proponents will need to consider the
legislative requirements and the requirements in the
supplement for measurement of soil carbon sequestration in agricultural systems.
To be eligible under this method, projects must introduce one or more of the following activities:
This method also has prohibited and restricted activities (Determination—part 3).
Undertaking one or more eligible management activities under this determination may not result in soil carbon increases and crediting is dependent on increasing the baseline level of soil carbon. See more information in the
Department of Environment and Energy’s factsheet on increasing soil carbon.
Projects must include ‘eligible land’ (Determination—part 3) that has been used for pasture, cropping (including perennial woody horticulture), bare fallow, or any combination of these for the previous 10 years. A land management strategy must be prepared or reviewed by an independent person—advising on what management activities are best suited to the site, including information on risks, monitoring and improvements.
Areas of eligible land in which carbon abatement is to be measured (carbon estimation areas) must not be forest land, land that was a wetland in the previous 10 years, or include dwellings or other structures. Land that cannot be classified as a carbon estimation area may still be part of a project area, as either an exclusion zone or emissions accounting area. These areas cannot contribute to crediting of carbon abatement under the method.
Evidence of the above requirements must form part of an
application to register a project.
Each crediting application for Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) requires at least one round of
soil sampling, the
calculation of net carbon abatement and inclusion of this and other required information in an offset report (Determination—part 5). Statements must be provided from the proponent and the independent person responsible for sampling verifying, respectively, that the abatement is genuine and the soil carbon estimate accurate.
Proponents can generally nominate the intervals of their reporting periods from one year to a maximum of five years—noting that sampling timing requirements in the
supplement can impact reporting intervals.
A baseline sampling (Determination—part 3) round must be undertaken to measure soil carbon stocks in carbon estimation areas in the first reporting period for new projects, or within 18 months of land being added to an existing project area. A subsequent sampling round must be conducted in every reporting period in the crediting period (including the first reporting period).
An independent person must extract soil cores and measure soil carbon using laboratory measurements or laboratory calibrated in-field sensors. A consistent soil carbon estimation technology (for example, combustion or sensors) must be used within each carbon estimation area and each sampling round.
Each carbon estimation area must be divided into at least three strata (subdivisions), and at least three soil cores must be taken from each strata. Other sampling requirements in the method and the
supplement must be satisfied.
Under this method, net abatement (the amount used for crediting ACCUs) corresponds to the increase in soil carbon over time, after the emissions caused by additional activities used to build soil carbon (for example extra fertiliser applications beyond the baseline) have been subtracted (Determination—part 3).
Due to the impact of climatic, temporal and spatial variability on soil carbon stocks, the method applies a temporary discount to increases in soil carbon stocks after the second sampling round and ongoing uncertainty discounts. These discounts reduce the risk of overestimation of carbon stock increases and of over-crediting. The ongoing discounts decrease as the certainty of soil carbon estimates increase.
In addition to the general requirements for all Emissions Reduction Fund projects, proponents participating under this method must:
See more information in
part 5 of the Determination.
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