Keeping sustainable landholders on sustainable land

Frequently Asked Questions


There are several other carbon-marketing programs, would they suit me?

Landcare CarbonSMART® advises landowners not to enter into agreements with organisations selling carbon under informal, unregulated schemes, for instance those proposing to plant limited numbers of trees, which the company will ‘own’. Under such arrangements, landholders do not benefit from carbon trades and lose control over their carbon stocks. In case that the organisation is US-based, as an Australian or New Zealand citizen you will need an ESTA Visa to be able to fly to USA and prepare the required documentation for the marketing program.

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Why has CarbonSMART® been launched?

Governments, communities, companies and individuals everywhere are very concerned about global warming. One of the causes is the ever-increasing level of atmospheric carbon dioxide, predominantly from our heavy consumption of fossil fuels. Many campaigns have been launched to halt and reverse these processes. As trees actively take carbon dioxide from the air, and hold it for very long periods if allowed to continue their growth, large-scale maintenance and creation of forests is a valuable action. Landcare’s CarbonSMART®  initiative encourages Australian landowners to fight climate change by paying them to grow and maintain trees.

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What does "carbon pooling" mean?

Carbon pooling is where multiple sites are administered by a single body or organisation. By pooling, landholders will be able to reduce pool management costs and reduce risks such as fire by having sites in various locations. Pooling also allows landholders with smaller sites that might otherwise be less attractive to purchasers to access the market. Pooling can also reduce transaction costs by using standard forms and agreements.

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Will farmers be able to offset their emissions by accrediting their own tree belts as forest sinks?

As accreditation is costly and time-consuming for individuals, this will be very difficult.

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How much will I earn from my vegetation?

This varies from region to region. Factors include soil type, rainfall, species, establishment technique and past land management. CarbonSMART®  makes initial and formal offers to landowners as part of the registration process. Carbon prices have risen over the last two years (2007/08) – these rises are expected to continue.

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Are any contracts required?

Part of the scheme requires that carbon be stored in the trees for 100 years from the day it was used to create an NGAC. This means that if one (1) NGAC was created in the thirtieth year that tree would need to remain on site until the 130th year. This is often called the 100 year rule.

To ensure that this happens IPART, the scheme administrators, require the landholder to register a Restriction on Use Agreement on the title on land. This is done to provide a last resort to ensure the carbon remains on site for the required time.

The Restriction on Use is registered on title so that subsequent land owners are also bound by the agreement. The pool manager also signs this agreement and has specific obligations to IPART.

The scheme also requires the landholder and pool manager to show that they have the right to transfer the carbon rights on the site and that they will not resell them to someone else. This is done by registering the carbon rights of the site to the pool manager. This is also registered on title to ensure subsequent owners are aware of the agreement and do not try and sell the carbon rights again.

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What is a Restriction on Use (ROU)?

A 'Restriction on Use of Land' agreement or ROU ensures that the vegetation and the carbon in it stay on the site for the required period. This agreement restricts current and future landowners from releasing the carbon stored in the vegetation.

The Restriction on Use is a last resort action. Under the most serious breach, both CarbonSMART and the landholder would be responsible for ensuring that the vegetation contains sufficient carbon to cover the assigned credits. If the site is incapable of storing the assigned carbon then the Landowner and CarbonSMART will have to source similar NGACs to make good the loss.

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What will happen to my property prices if I have agreements over my land?

Experiences in Victoria have shown that in many instances conservation covenants have increased the resale value of the land (Trust for Nature).

Remember we are targeting areas that have been identified as not suitable for high production agriculture. By entering the carbon pool you will ensure that those areas are protected for the long term.

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What happens when the ten-year agreement with CarbonSMART® ends?

You will be invited to enter a further ten-year agreement. You may decline to further participate with no obligation.

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Why are CarbonSMART® agreements for only ten years, whereas the vegetation must remain on site for 100 years?

To combat global warming, the world-wide Kyotorules require sequestered carbon dioxide to be held in a stable form for that entire period. Landholders may not want to be locked in to Landcare CarbonSMART®  for the whole period and this provides an exit opportunity.

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If I sign up, my carbon is registered, payments commence, and then I sell the land, who gets subsequent payments? Does the registration remain on title?

The schedule of payments can be transferred to the new owner, or retained by yourself – the decision would be part of the negotiating process. The registration on title would be maintained.

Real Estate Institute research shows that properties with revegetation and Landcare works sell more rapidly and attract higher prices than other properties.

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What consequences would a natural disaster such as a fire on my property bring, with respect to registered vegetation?

Firstly, with a ground fire or spring or autumn burn, it is very possible that the damage to your trees would be low; in these cases, payments would resume when carbon-storage returned to pre-disaster levels. This might be as soon as a year or so. In the event of a severe fire, Landcare CarbonSMART®  would use its recovery fund to finance restoration of the stand.

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What happens if registered vegetation is deliberately cleared?

Following negotiations with the landowner, alternative carbon stocks would have to be purchased.

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Will I need to offset my own emissions?

Under a proposed national emissions trading scheme (NETS), agriculture will need to manage its on-farm carbon sinks and emissions, so landowners will find that taking an early lead through CarbonSMART®  will facilitate a smoother passage to the NETS. In addition, as landowners will be able to trade amongst themselves, having accredited stands of vegetation for offsets will benefit farmers. Doing nothing is the worst option.

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Will there be any form of futures trading?

Landcare CarbonSMART®  does not ‘forward sell’ carbon; only stored carbon is traded, which means that all uncommitted future growth will be accessible to landholders.

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There are several other carbon-marketing programs; would they suit me?

Landcare CarbonSMART®  advises landowners not to enter into agreements with organisations selling carbon under informal, unregulated schemes, for instance those proposing to plant limited numbers of trees, which the company will ‘own’. Under such arrangements, landholders do not benefit from carbon trades and lose control over their carbon stocks.

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