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Plantation forestry method

31 August 2020


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

Changes to regulations applying to forestry projects

Amendments have been made to the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Regulations 2011 (CFI Regulations) designed to reduce the regulatory burden for potential Emissions Reduction Fund plantation forestry and new farm forestry projects in higher rainfall areas.

These amendments identify five regional areas in which tree planting in higher rainfall areas is unlikely to have a material adverse impact on water availability.

New plantations or expanded plantations located in these regions will be taken to pass the water requirements under section 3.37 of the CFI Regulations and will not require further assessment by the relevant water authorities to be registered under the Emissions Reduction Fund.

The regions cover parts of South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales. Maps of the regions are available at or visit the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources for more information.

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

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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