A soil carbon farming project involves storing carbon by increasing the amount of organic matter in the soil as a direct result of changes in property management.
Examples of ways carbon can be stored in soils include:
- Converting cropland to permanent pasture;
- Retaining stubble (crop residue) that was previously removed by baling or burning;
- Changing pasture species composition (for example annuals to perennials)
- Changing fertilisers or mulching practices to improve soil nutrients and water holding capacity.
Soil carbon projects are implemented on land in Australia for either 25 or 100 years. Land managers must measure the amount of carbon in the soil before the project starts (the baseline period), and they then measure the change in carbon over the life of the project.
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.