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May 19, 2021

The Carbon Farming Initiative is growing green farmers

Native forest protection is just one way farmers are using the Carbon Farming Initiative to improve the environment and help themselves.

The Carbon Farming Initiative is a voluntary scheme that provides economic rewards to farmers and landholders who are able to reduce or sequester greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the scheme carbon credits can be earned from activities like reducing livestock emissions, increasing efficiency of fertiliser use, enhancing carbon in agricultural soil and storing carbon through revegetation and reforestation.

carbon farming initiative

carbon farming initiative diagramThe Osterley Downs Native Forest Protection Project, operated by Robert and Donna Campbell in Parkes (NSW), was the 121st project around Australia to be registered under the CFI.

The CFI also includes safeguards to make sure good farming land isn’t reduced, and that water supplies and biodiversity are protected.

The CFI targets the agricultural sector because it contributes about 18 per cent of Australia’s GHG emissions. As the government notes: the sector’s “…potential to contribute to a lasting solution to the problem is significant”.

Agriculture is also a direct beneficiary of reduced climate change as it relies on stable weather patterns. Returning and keeping carbon in soils is also good for growing productivity.

Farmers or landholders who help reduce Australia’s GHG emissions through approved CFI activities generate tradeable carbon credits.

The Osterley Downs project generated 273522 carbon credits which it will be able to sell to the government’s, yet to be introduced, Emission Reduction Fund.

The Aboriginal Carbon Fund is also hoping to be a beneficiary of the CFI. It describes itself as “a national not-for-profit company building wealth for Traditional Owners through the ethical trade of carbon credits”.

It is working on a program of savanna enrichment in northern Australia that involves growing food and storing carbon at the same time.

There are no Aboriginal Carbon Fund savanna enrichment projects as yet, but the methodology will be assessed by the CFI later this year. Meanwhile, trial sites are currently being managed by the Kimberley Training Institute on behalf of the ACF.

The idea is to combine traditional techniques with modern horticulture to create bush food plots in an existing savanna landscape. Savanna enrichment is a sequestration activity which stores more carbon in trees. The land management also helps to reduce the degree and incidence of wild fires.

The project has the potential to provide another income stream for Indigenous communities.


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