20 years ago, if you told farmers that they’d be farming carbon alongside their crops and cattle, they’d have thought you were joking. But today, the carbon market’s growing influence worldwide has seen prices of carbon credits soar in 2021, both nationally and overseas. Carbon farming is a way for land managers to participate and profit, while simultaneously continuing to farm, reaping the rewards of carbon credit generation and enhancing landscape biodiversity.
A popular way among land managers to become involved in carbon farming is through vegetation projects, which aid in carbon abatement by storing carbon in growing vegetation, or by preventing the further release of emissions from a reduction in land clearing.
Many landholders would be familiar with this method—which is the regeneration of native trees and vegetation with the aim of regenerating native shrubland and forest on areas of a property where vegetation may have historically been suppressed or removed. Eligibility for this kind of regeneration project must be among the following treatment methods:
- Management of the timing and extent of grazing, which focuses on changing patterns of land use to allow the regrowth of vegetation in suppressed areas.
- Management of feral animals to minimise browsing of saplings and juvenile vegetation.
- Cessation of mechanical or chemical destruction of regrowth, which aims to promote the recruitment of native vegetation in previous areas of suppression.
- Exclusion of livestock, to avoid the further suppression of native vegetation from trampling, browsing and soil compression.
Avoided deforestation projects are a straightforward commitment by land managers to protect or preserve native forest on a property that has previously received government consent to be cleared and converted to cropland or pasture. Following a detailed assessment process to identify areas under the clearing permit that qualify under the avoided deforestation method, credits are accrued by not clearing the land and agreeing to maintain it for up to 100 years, which aids carbon abatement by avoiding further release of emissions and preserving the forest as a ‘carbon sink’. One such project is the Osterley Downs Native Forest Protection project. Located near Cobar, NSW, Osterley Downs is a commercially successful cattle grazing operation, and the first ever CFI native forest projection project on leasehold land in Australia.
Avoided clearing aims to protect growing forest from future scheduled clearing, breaking with the property’s historical clearing regime. For eligibility, avoided clearing projects must provide evidence of at least two historical clearing events where unrestricted clearing is permitted, and cropping or grazing has been undertaken between the clearing events.
In partnering with land managers, GreenCollar adopts a revenue sharing model, wherein we take a 30% revenue share of the project—incentivising best market price and credit production as well as eliminating any fees for project setup and facilitation. We take on the delivery risk under the Carbon Abatement Contract and are responsible for meeting delivery and compliance obligations, allowing land managers to focus on implementation. We also take on the administrative burden, technical data collection and ongoing monitoring of the project.
Partnering with GreenCollar on vegetation projects is more than just a pathway to landscape rehabilitation. It’s a way for land managers to earn additional, diversified income, without the risk of going it alone.