Soil carbon projects
A soil carbon project stores carbon in agricultural soil. This earns Australian carbon credit units (carbon credits) for reducing the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Increasing your farm’s soil carbon has a number of benefits for agricultural productivity and profitability:
Carbon credits provide another income stream for your property.
Improved soil health, enhanced water retention and drought resilience, and better crop and pasture yields.
Helps regenerate degraded land and unlock it for more productive use.
Understand your soil
Manage your land more efficiently using your soil’s nutrient data.
Help with these projects
Introduction to soil carbon projects, how they work and their eligibility requirements.
Our soil carbon project user guide takes you through each stage, from planning and running a project, to reporting results and earning carbon credits.
How these projects work
Soil carbon is a part of the organic matter in soil. It comes from the breakdown of plants, microorganisms and animal waste material.
A soil carbon project involves managing your land to encourage increases in soil carbon. Increases occur by building carbon stores in the soil. Sampling your soil measures changes in soil carbon and provides you information about soil nutrition and health. Increases in measured soil carbon earns you carbon credits.
Improve your soil carbon levels by introducing one or more new eligible land management activities, such as:
- applying nutrients, lime, or gypsum
- installing new irrigation with water sourced from privately-funded farm water efficiency savings
- seeding a pasture, and
- changing stocking rates, or the duration or intensity of grazing.
Increases in your soil carbon can be dependent on existing carbon levels, soil type, management history, rainfall and prevailing seasonal weather (for example, if are you in a drought).
To be eligible you must:
- Identify eligible land on your property — land was pasture, cropping (which may include horticulture such as fruits or vegetables) or bare fallow for the last ten years.
- Establish legal right (the right to run your project and claim carbon credits) — for example, holding a lease or other land title, or having a signed agreement with other landholders to run a project on their land.
- Obtain regulatory approvals and consent from everyone with an eligible interest in the project land. Consent holders will vary. They may include banks, state governments (if the land is leased) or relevant native title bodies corporate.
- Make sure your project is new — you will need to adopt a new land management activity after you register your soil carbon project.
Running and reporting on your project
As part of registering a project, you will need to prepare a land management strategy (explaining what activities you will undertake) and calculate your expected carbon credits.
There are operating, sampling, reporting, audit, notification, monitoring and record-keeping obligations in running a soil carbon project. You will need to report on your project at least once every five years. You receive carbon credits each time you report increases in soil carbon levels over a period of 25 years.
Your project must store carbon for 25 or 100 years to deliver a long-term benefit to the atmosphere (known as ‘permanence’).
Relevant legislation and resources
- Factsheet: Soil carbon projects.
- Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative — Measurement of Soil Carbon Sequestration in Agricultural Systems) Methodology Determination 2018 and the explanatory statement.
- The Supplement for Measurement of Soil Carbon Sequestration in Agriculture Systems.
- Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011, the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Regulations 2011 and the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Rule 2015.