28 September 2016
Landowners and carbon companies wanting to grow trees for the carbon market now have a tool to help guide them on where best to plant.
Natural resource management group Wheatbelt NRM has developed software specific to the region.
One of the aims of the Carbon Planning Tool is to prevent mass plantings of a single species on prime agricultural land.
Wheatbelt NRM’s Dr Dimity Boggs said the carbon market had the potential to open up a new funding source for landowners, but it was important it also added value to farming systems and the environment.
She said the software took into account existing remnant vegetation, waterways, productive agricultural land and towns.
“Individuals or companies considering trading trees as carbon offsets simply type in their address and indicate where they are considering planting trees,” Dr Boggs said.
“The software then suggests the type of planting that is in line with the region’s natural resource management strategy,” Dimity Boggs said.
“While it’s not compulsory, by meeting the NRM strategy, it does help applicants to register their project with the Emission Reductions Fund.”
“If the area is close to an existing patch of remnant vegetation, the tool would advise to plant mixed species to encourage biodiversity,” Dr Dimity Boggs said.
“If the area was in a saline or low productive agricultural area, then a single species planting would be fine.”
Dr Boggs said the Carbon Planning Tool could help to avoid large tree plantations displacing prime farming land.
“What the software is trying to do is resolve some of this potential conflict and support carbon farming projects that add value to our community,” Dr Boggs said.
“It also makes sure carbon projects don’t conflict with good natural resource management.”
The Carbon Planning Tool has taken more than 18 months to create and is free to access, thanks to funding from the Australian Government.
Carbon Planning Tool - http://www.nrmstrategy.com.au/carbon-planning-tool