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Plantation forestry method

22 May 2020


2020 FullCAM update coming soon

The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (the Department) is preparing to release an update to the Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM) for public use from 1 September 2020. FullCAM is used to construct Australia’s national greenhouse gas emissions account for the land sector and must be used for some vegetation method projects in the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). Any new projects which apply to be registered under the ERF from 1 September must use the 2020 FullCAM option.

A pre-release version of FullCAM software and draft FullCAM Guidelines are available now for preview. The Department is inviting initial comments on the draft Guidelines by 11:59PM, Friday 12 June 2020 (AEST).

A public consultation period on the draft Guidelines will follow in July 2020.

More information on the forthcoming update, including how to make a submission on the draft guidelines, can be found on the Department’s website.

CFI amendment, August 2017

Following the amendment of the CFI Rule on 16 August 2017, any new or expanding plantation project must first be assessed by the Minister for Agriculture for its potential to have an adverse impact on agricultural production in the region. This assessment is done through a plantations notification.

All questions about the notification process should be referred to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ Climate Policy team. The Climate Policy team can be contacted on 02 6272 3933 or via email at

Is the plantation forestry method suitable for your business?

  • Are you considering starting a new plantation forest on land that has had no plantation forest for seven years or more?
  • Do you manage an existing plantation forest?

If you answered yes to one of these questions, the plantation forestry method may be suitable for your business.

The plantation forestry method increases carbon sequestration by establishing new plantation forests or transitioning existing plantation estates from short-rotation to long-rotation plantation forests. Plantations must be managed with the intention of harvesting for forest products.

Project activities and eligibility requirements

Three activities can be conducted under the plantation forestry method, including to:

  • establish a new plantation forest on land that has had no plantation forest for seven years
  • convert a short-rotation plantation to a long-rotation plantation, where the conversion might occur either part-way through the short-rotation plantation cycle, or following harvest of a short-rotation plantation, or
  • maintain a pre-existing plantation forest that meets the eligibility requirements of the plantation forestry method, but was established under another method.

Eligibility is restricted to plantations established in regions defined under the national plantation inventory within which, there are some plantation types that are not eligible under this method. Plantations managed as part of a forestry managed investment scheme are also ineligible.

Before the Clean Energy Regulator can register a plantation project, participants must notify the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources of their proposal and the Minister for Agriculture must assess whether the project may lead to an undesirable impact on agricultural production in the region in which the project is to be located. If an adverse finding is made by the Minister, a project will be ineligible to participate in the Emissions Reduction Fund under the plantation forestry method.

More information on the notification process is available from the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Rule 2015 and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website, or email

Abatement calculation and permanence period

The plantation forestry method requires accounting for carbon stock changes in trees, debris, and harvested forest products, taking into account forest growth, disturbances and harvesting. It also accounts for carbon stock changes and emissions due to management activities such as thinning, pruning, fertilising and controlled burning, and emissions from fossil fuel use.

Project participants must use FullCAM to calculate their project’s carbon stock. In general, abatement is calculated by subtracting the long-term average baseline carbon stock (where applicable) and any project emissions from the project carbon stock, with a cap on maximum abatement represented by the long-term average project carbon stock.

Participants can choose either a 25 or 100 year permanence period. To ensure the plantation forestry method is consistent with the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011, a permanence period discount of 25 per cent is applied to a project’s net abatement for short-rotation (20 years or less) plantation forestry projects that elect a 25-year permanence period. A 20 per cent permanence discount is applied to all other plantation forestry projects.

Legislative requirements

Before participating under the plantation forestry method, you must read and understand the method and other legislative requirements, including:

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