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Removing non-project trees in avoided deforestation projects in NSW

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29 November 2016

This regulatory guidance is for projects covered by the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) (Avoided Deforestation) Methodology Determination 2013 and the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative – Avoided Deforestation 1.1) Methodology 2015 .

Each method sets out requirements to account for carbon stock in non-project trees that cannot contribute to estimates of abatement from the project. Non-project trees are those trees that are not allowed to be cleared under the clearing consent relating to the project area.
In NSW, a clearing consent is known as a property vegetation plan or PVP. PVPs set out rules for clearing that would occur in the baseline scenario. The baseline scenario is clearing that would take place in the absence of the project.

Both methods include calculations to ensure that the biomass stock from non-project trees does not contribute to the net abatement from the project. Scheme participants may determine the ‘non-project tree buffer’ by calculating the proportion of non-project tree biomass stocks in each carbon estimation area.

The non-project tree buffer calculation relies on results from biomass surveys conducted by applying the project’s allometric equations. Developing or validating the project’s allometric equations requires destructive sampling of small numbers of trees.
Scheme participants using the newer 2015 method, also have the option to set the biomass of non-project trees to zero and exclude them from any biomass survey results, rather than calculate the non-project tree buffer.

When conducting destructive sampling for the purposes of developing or validating allometric equations, scheme participants need to be aware of the laws relating to clearing that apply when running their avoided deforestation project.

In NSW, the relevant legislation is the Native Vegetation Act 2003  (the Act). Scheme participants must comply with the Act and related instruments, including the Native Vegetation Regulation 2013 , when running their project. There are other legislative provisions that may also be relevant to projects, such as cultural heritage under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW).

The Native Vegetation Act 2003 provides for numerous types of activities, known as routine agricultural management activities or RAMAs, for which clearing consent is not required. There are also a number of self-assessment codes under which landholders may, with notification, clear vegetation without a PVP.

Please note the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) (Avoided Deforestation) Methodology Determination 2013 was revoked on 1 July 2015. New projects cannot be registered using this method. This regulatory guidance applies to existing projects using this method as well as to projects using the newer 2015 method.

Additional resources

Information about other NSW legislation relevant to the self-assessable codes

Information for landholders on the NSW Native Vegetation Act 2003 and the Native Vegetation Regulation 2013.

Information about Local Land Services

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