Active landscape management – high productivity agriculture pilot
A high productivity agricultural pilot could combine soil carbon, plantation forestry, environmental plantings or other applicable methods in a single carbon farming project.
Imagine if you could only sell one commodity that you produced on your farm. For example, you have grazed beef cattle but can only sell the prime cut, or raised sheep but can only sell the wool. The carbon market has operated a bit like this in the last few years – with farmers only getting paid for a subset of their sustainable land management activities.
The active landscape management approach aims to rectify this problem and to better align the carbon farming framework with how land is managed on the ground. This will make it easier for farmers to get involved in carbon farming because a greater portion of the emissions reduction actions taken by land managers to be recognised. This will provide increased revenue from carbon projects, and enable smaller farms and additional agricultural regions to access carbon farming.
A key goal of the active landscape management approach is to make carbon farming accessible outside the rangelands, overcoming current barriers to participation for high productivity agricultural areas, such as high transaction costs for relatively small land parcels.
Climate Friendly is initially establishing pilot projects in Victoria, and plans to expand this to other high productivity agricultural areas.
Regeneration carbon farming projects involve managing land in a way that enables native vegetation to regenerate naturally into forest. This is done by changing, reducing or removing factors that would otherwise suppress regeneration (e.g. grazing pressure, feral animals and non-native plants and clearing or thinning practices).
The regenerating forest captures and stores carbon in the landscape, producing carbon credits which can be traded. Over time, the project implementation area will transition to ‘forest cover’. In Australia, forest cover means an area of land that has trees two or more metres tall and a canopy that covers at least 20% of the total area. Forest cover should be achieved within 15 years of when the trees germinated.
A regeneration project is implemented on land in Australia for either 25 or 100 years. Projects can only take place on land areas that did not have forest cover for the ten years before the project commences (known as the baseline period). The regeneration project involves natural germination of trees, rather than seeding or planting activities, which are covered under different project methods.
Case Study Examples
Managing a cattle in a way that reduces the emissions intensity of the herd.
Increasing the amount of organic matter in the soil as a direct result of changes in property management.
Expanding or optimising plantation estates for solid wood production.
Planting or seeding trees to establish a forest.