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Savanna fire management - emissions avoidance

26 April 2019

Contents

The savanna fire management—emissions avoidance method credits activities that reduce the emission of greenhouse gases from fire in savannas in northern Australia, through a reduction in the frequency and extent of late dry season fires. Annual planned burning is a required fire management activity under the method. As avoided emissions are considered permanent, there are no permanence obligations under this method.

The method replaces the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative—Emissions Abatement through Savanna Fire Management) Methodology Determination 2015.

Eligibility

For projects to be eligible under this method, they must undertake:

  • savanna fire management activities with the objective of avoiding emissions that result from the late dry season, unplanned burning of savannas, and
  • annual planned burning in each project area.

Project areas must:

There are a number of other requirements for projects under this method, including that:

  • annual project management plans (Part 3 section 17 of the determination) are prepared before commencing burning each calendar year. These plans can be modified during the fire season to reflect actual conditions.
  • relevant eligible interest holder consents are obtained before credits can be issued, and
  • vegetation fuel type maps are created, validated and revised as required. More information on vegetation fuel type maps can be found in the savanna technical guidance document.

Monitoring and excluding weeds

This method includes a requirement for projects (Part 3 section 14) to monitor and remove relevant weed species from project areas. Currently, the only weed that must be monitored and excluded is gamba grass (Andropgon gayanus). Projects are not able to claim Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) for project areas that contain gamba grass.

If gamba grass is identified in a project area, it must be excluded by either:

  1. Removing the gamba grass from the project area before the end of the reporting period in which it is first identified. A map and evidence of weed clearing must be provided with the relevant offsets report.
  2. Removing the project area that contains the gamba grass by subdividing the project and removing the area that contains gamba grass from the project (in accordance with section 15 of the method). An area removed from the project is removed permanently.

More information about monitoring relevant weed species can be found in the savanna technical guidance document, under tools and user manuals.

Subdivision of project areas

Project areas may be subdivided, which enables required removal of areas that contain weed species or no longer meet other project area requirements—such as including vegetation fuel types. When an ineligible area is removed via subdivision, it cannot be included or reintroduced to the project or introduced to any other projects under this method, or the savanna fire management—sequestration and emissions avoidance method. If participants wish to subdivide their project area, they must apply to the Clean Energy Regulator using the Emissions Reduction Fund project variation form in the client portal.

Transferring your project

Participants may submit an application to the Clean Energy Regulator to transfer their projects to this method from other savanna fire management methods. A project under a closed savanna fire management method can transfer to this method or to the savanna fire management—emissions avoidance method. Once a project has transferred from a closed method to one of the current savanna fire management methods it cannot transfer back to its original method.

Please see Transferring your project to the 2018 savanna fire management methods for more information.

Calculation of net abatement

Under this method, participants can either complete their net abatement calculations manually, or use the appropriate version of the Savanna Burning Abatement Tool (SavBAT 3).

Net abatement from emissions avoidance is calculated by determining, for each project area, the difference between methane and nitrous oxide emissions in the baseline period and each project year. The difference between mean baseline and annual project emissions reflects the change in emissions resulting from a change in fire management practices as a consequence of the project. If the project contains more than one project area, then net abatement for each project area is summed to give net project abatement.

The baseline period for project areas under this method is ten years for project areas in the high rainfall zone, and 15 years for project areas in the low rainfall zone.

Emissions from fire will vary between years due to the type and extent of fire management activities undertaken, the amount of unplanned fires and normal climate variability. As a result, credits generated in each project year will differ considerably between years. In some years, project emissions may exceed baseline emissions and net abatement may be negative.

To accurately account for years with net negative abatement, an ‘uncertainty buffer’ is used. Contributions of up to ten per cent of net abatement for a project area are made to the uncertainty buffer in each year of net positive abatement, to a maximum threshold of five per cent of the mean annual baseline emissions. If net abatement is negative for a project year, then the negative amount is offset by withdrawing from the uncertainty buffer. If the negative abatement exceeds the amount in the uncertainty buffer, proponents do not receive further credits in subsequent years until the uncertainty buffer is no longer negative.

Legislative requirements

Before participating under the Savanna fire management—Emissions Avoidance 2018 method, participants must read and understand the method and other legislative requirements, including:

Tools and resources

The tools and resources provides links to relevant legislation and key information but should not be viewed as an alternative to reading the full legislative requirements. Additional information can also be found in the full method guide linked above.

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