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Environmental Plantings Pilot

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10 February 2022


The Clean Energy Regulator has made it easier for farmers and landholders to directly participate in the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).

You can now diversify your income and help Australia reduce its emissions by planting trees on your land.

Benefits of environmental plantings pilot projects

The environmental plantings pilot removes the cost of project audits, simplifies project registration and crediting processes, and introduces an easier way to sell Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) to the Australian Government.

Environmental plantings projects involve planting a mixture of native and local tree, shrub and understorey species to establish new and permanent forest cover. These projects earn one ACCU for each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e) stored in the project trees as they grow.

In addition to carbon abatement, increasing the number of trees on your land has other important benefits:

Diversify revenue
ACCUs provide another income stream for your property.
Shelter for livestock and pastures
Plantings improve the condition of stock and pastoral productivity.
Restore degraded land
Protect soils from wind erosion by reducing wind speeds.
Ecosystem health
Improves water quality through reduced pesticide and fertiliser runoff.

Eligibility criteria

To participate in the environmental plantings pilot, the following eligibility criteria applies:

  • the project is registered under the environmental plantings method,
  • the project proponent is the owner, leaseholder or native title holder of the land,
  • the total anticipated or reported carbon estimation area (CEA) is no more than 200 hectares,
  • the planting areas are modelled as mixed species block plantings using the generic calibration in FullCAM,
  • the project area is subject to geospatial tool monitoring and assurance by the Clean Energy Regulator (removing the cost of scheduled audits).

Core pilot components

Streamlined processing: Registration and crediting

  • new, streamlined registration, reporting and crediting forms,
  • we provide comprehensive ERF scheme and method guidance and,
  • we assist with modelling and reporting obligations.

Alternative assurance (zero scheduled audits)

  • environmental plantings pilot projects are eligible for reduced audit obligations as an alternative assurance project,
  • instead of scheduled audits, we will use geospatial tools to confirm that the planting activity has happened, verify that abatement is being achieved, and monitor for disturbances.

Fixed price purchasing desk (optional)

  • we is piloting an optional alternative to participating in an ERF auction,
  • pilot participants are eligible to sell ACCUs at a fixed price to the Australian Government. This is an optional alternative to the traditional ERF auction process that mitigates administrative barriers and price and success uncertainty.

How to participate

Lifecycle of an environmental plantings pilot project
Figure 1: Lifecycle of an environmental plantings pilot project
Step 1. Review guidelines
Before applying to register an environmental plantings pilot, review the ERF scheme and pilot eligibility criteria and requirements in the documentasset:Environmental Plantings Pilot - Information Pack.
Step 2. Register
Environmental plantings pilot participants can register their project using the streamlined registration form in the Client Portal.
Step 3. Establish Plantings
Establish planting area/s (via direct seeding and/or planting tubestock) and maintain plantings as they grow.
Step 4. Geospatial monitoring
Instead of the farmer or landholder incurring the cost of audits, the Clean Energy Regulator will use geospatial tools to confirm the planting activity has happened, verify that abatement is being achieved, and monitor for disturbances.
Step 5. Simplified reporting and crediting
Pilot participants can earn one ACCU for each tCO2-e stored by project trees. The Clean Energy Regulator will assist with project mapping and modelling annually to make it easier to report on carbon abatement and earn ACCUs.
Step 6. Sell ACCUs
ACCUs can be sold to generate income, either to the Australian Government or to private buyers in the secondary market.
Step 7. Maintain forest cover
Forest cover must be maintained to preserve the carbon stored in your project trees for the duration of the permanence period (25 or 100-years).

Apply now!

Our streamlined registration form is available via the Client Portal.

Create a Client Portal account to apply to register an environmental plantings pilot project.

Follow the steps in our ‘how to’ guide: How to apply to register

We are here to help!

Contact us on 1300 553 542 or

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