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Calculation of initial carbon stock for projects that commenced activity before the declaration date

21 July 2017

Important Note

New projects applying for registration under the Emissions Reduction Fund can use a method developed under the previous scheme, the Carbon Farming Initiative, provided the method has not been varied or revoked. Up until 1 July 2015 projects adopting these methods could be backdated. However, after this date, the Emissions Reduction Fund's 'newness' requirement applies and backdating is not possible. The only exception is when the method specifically allows backdating

This guidance relates to the Human Induced Regeneration of a Permanent Even-Aged Native Forest methodology determination (Version 1.1) (the determination), as made on 17 June 2013 and varied on 1 July 2015. This guidance does not apply to the variation of the method determination made on 17 March 2016, which includes the requirement to use FullCAM modelling in place of the Reforestation Modelling Tool (used in earlier versions of the method) to calculate the carbon store. Anyone seeking to use the varied method should use Compilation No. 2 of the method, as made on 22 March 2016.


A project that started to apply the project mechanisms before the project was registered as an Emissions Reduction Fund project must follow the instructions for "pre-existing" projects when calculating their initial carbon stock, regardless of whether the declaration of project registration took effect on 1 July 2010 (when the determination came into force) or a later date requested by the project proponent.

This guidance may be particularly relevant for projects conducted on land during the second commitment period (commencing on 1 July 2013) of the Kyoto Protocol (being essentially where regrowth of native forest has been suppressed for at least 10 years).


The Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011 (the CFI Act) and associated regulations ensure that Australian carbon credit units are only issued for abatement achieved during the crediting period of an eligible project.

Accordingly, section 4.8 of the determination contains a note regarding the treatment of existing carbon stock in pre-existing projects:

Step 1—Calculate the initial carbon stock of the project area

  • For the first offsets report, the initial carbon stock (ICPA,rc) is:
    • for a project other than a pre-existing project—zero; and
    • for a pre-existing project—the carbon stock for the project area at the declaration date.

This definition is not comprehensive in that it does not include projects that commenced before they were registered as Emissions Reduction Fund projects but had a declaration date other than 1 July 2010. If applied strictly to section 4.8, such a project might use a zero initial carbon stock. This would lead to outcomes that are inconsistent with the CFI Act and regulations, as carbon stored before the project was declared would be included in abatement calculations.

A project that began to apply project mechanisms before 1 July 2010 but is declared only as a Kyoto project from 1 January 2013, will need to apply section 4.8 in accordance with this guidance—that is, the carbon stock that had accumulated by 1 January 2013 will be the initial carbon stock.

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